PIONEER NATURAL RESOURCES COMPANY

PIONEER NATURAL RESOURCES COMPANY

March 21, 2005 09:16 ET

Pioneer Updates Alaska North Slope Exploration Activities


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: PIONEER NATURAL RESOURCES COMPANY

NYSE SYMBOL: PXD

MARCH 21, 2005 - 09:16 ET

Pioneer Updates Alaska North Slope Exploration
Activities

DALLAS--(CCNMatthews - Mar 21, 2005) -

Pioneer Natural Resources Company (NYSE:PXD) announced today the
execution by its Alaskan subsidiary of a multi-year contract with Doyon
Drilling, Inc. to build and operate a new drilling rig designed for
exploration drilling on the North Slope of Alaska. Akita Drilling, Ltd.
will join Doyon in the construction of the rig.

The Company also announced the assignment of its 40% working interest in
the Tuvaaq exploration well on Alaska's North Slope to Kerr-McGee.

New Drilling Rig

The new drilling rig, which will be built in Canada this summer and
begin operations later this year, will be lightweight and highly mobile
and is designed to maximize the number of wells drilled during the
relatively short winter drilling season on the Alaska North Slope. This
fit-for-purpose rig will significantly reduce drilling costs and
increase productivity by reducing ice road and mobilization costs. It
will also allow the Company to optimize its drilling program over
Pioneer's extensive undeveloped acreage position on the North Slope.

Ken Sheffield, President of Pioneer's Alaska subsidiary commented, "We
are very pleased to be working with two of the most experienced and
efficient drilling contractors in the Arctic, Doyon and Akita. The new
rig is an example of the entrepreneurial approach Pioneer brings to the
North Slope and underscores Pioneer's strategy of providing strong
returns and production growth through high-impact exploration in Alaska."

2005 Alaska Exploration Program

Earlier this year, Pioneer announced a $50 million exploration program
for 2005 in Alaska with activities centered on the following areas:



-- National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (20% to 30% working
interest)
1.4 million acres in an under-explored area with various
leads and prospects

-- Storms Lead Area (50% working interest and operator)
130,000-acre position adjacent to the giant Prudhoe Bay
and Kuparuk River Units

-- Tuvaaq Offshore Lease (40% working interest)
A 14,000-acre block northeast of Pioneer's Oooguruk Unit
with a primary objective in the Ivishak sands and a
secondary objective in the Schrader Bluff sands
encountered in the adjacent Nikaitchuq Unit



Drilling operations have concluded on the Tuvaaq exploration well. The
well encountered wet sands in the primary Ivishak objective and
hydrocarbon-bearing sands in the Schrader Bluff interval. Pioneer
elected to assign its interest to Kerr-McGee rather than participate
with a small working interest in the eventual development of the
Schrader Bluff resource, most of which is found in the adjacent
Nikaitchuq Unit operated by Kerr-McGee. As a result, Pioneer will not
incur any capital expense related to the well.

Pioneer and partner ConocoPhillips concluded a 3-D seismic survey in the
Storms area and may drill the first exploratory well on the acreage as
early as 2006. The Company is also participating with ConocoPhillips and
Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in two to three wells in the National
Petroleum Reserve - Alaska.

Pioneer is a large independent oil and gas exploration and production
company with operations in the United States, Argentina, Canada,
Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and Tunisia. Pioneer's headquarters are
in Dallas. For more information, visit Pioneer's website at
www.pioneernrc.com.

Except for historical information contained herein, the statements in
this News Release are forward-looking statements that are made pursuant
to the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements and the business
prospects of Pioneer are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties
that may cause Pioneer's actual results in future periods to differ
materially from the forward-looking statements. These risks and
uncertainties include, among other things, volatility of oil and gas
prices, product supply and demand, competition, government regulation or
action, international operations and associated international political
and economic instability, litigation, the costs and results of drilling
and operations, Pioneer's ability to replace reserves, implement its
business plans, or complete its development projects as scheduled,
access to and cost of capital, uncertainties about estimates of
reserves, quality of technical data, environmental and weather risks,
acts of war or terrorism. These and other risks are described in
Pioneer's 10-K and 10-Q Reports and other filings with the Securities
and Exchange Commission.

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Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    Pioneer Natural Resources Company, Dallas
    Frank Hopkins or Chris Paulsen, 972-444-9001
    Investors
    or
    Susan Spratlen, 972-444-9001
    Media and Public Affairs