Crossroads Oil Co., 215 S. State, and Houston Energy & Development have formed a 50 percent joint venture to explore and develop offshore oil properties in the Gulf of Mexico in association with Exxon Co., U.S.A.

The joint venture, called Louisiana Offshore Ventures, has obtained contractual access to the considerable proprietary seismic and geological data, including complete prospect folders, that Exxon has gathered over the years.The two-year agreement covers 5.3 million acres, or 8,437 square miles, off the coast of Louisiana to a maximum water depth of 300 feet. The particular area of the gulf has been highly productive with 175 fields producing more than 24 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 4.35 billion barrels of oil and 272 million barrels of condensate.

"The agreement with Exxon provides Crossroads with a unique opportunity to quickly assemble and participate in some very high quality exploration prospects," said Stanford R. Bardsley, Crossroads president.