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REGIONAL ROUNDUP

Benton Oil Firm Expects $1.1-Million Operating Loss

March 29, 1994

Benton Oil and Gas Co. said it expects to report an operating loss for 1993 of about $1.1 million.

The Oxnard energy concern also said it will cut its capital spending on its Siberian project because of a $5.50-per-barrel Russian export tax. Benton spent a total of $10.2 million to develop the Siberian oil field in 1993. This year, it plans to spend about $2 million.

The company said it is discussing with the Russian government a possible lifting of the tax.

In addition, Benton said it will drill six exploratory wells in the Gulf Coast region of southern Louisiana. While highly speculative, Benton said, if successful the wells could double the company's current production of 5,500 barrels of oil a day.

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