SOCO International plc
SOCO Statement on Attack on Emmanuel De Merode
SOCO has been informed of the disturbing news that the Chief Warden of the Virunga National Park, Emmanuel De Merode was seriously injured yesterday in a reported ambush north of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
SOCO condemns this attack and expresses its deepest sympathy and concern for Mr De Merode. SOCO is aware of the deep respect held for Mr De Merode internationally and within the DRC.
SOCO does not condone violence of any kind and makes it clear that any suggestion linking SOCO to this crime is completely unfounded, defamatory and highly inappropriate.
Notes to editors:
- For media enquiries please contact Luke Chauveau on +4478970054560, Ileana Georgiadis on +447796794895 or Oktavia Dangel on +447827087233
- SOCO is an international oil and gas exploration and Production Company, headquartered in London, traded on the London Stock Exchange and a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. The Company has interests in Vietnam, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) and Angola.
- It is emphasised that Block V is not located within the mountainous Mikeno Sector, home to the famous Mountain Gorillas. Furthermore, SOCO has stated it will never seek to have operations in the Mountain Gorilla habitat, the Virunga Volcanoes or the Virunga equatorial rainforest. This has been subject to much inaccurate media speculation.
- SOCO gained an interest in the Albertine Graben, in eastern DRC, when it was awarded the Block V licence in June 2006 by the Government of the DRC. This award was ratified by a DRC presidential decree in 2010. Block V is an area of approx. 7,500 km2 on the border with Uganda; within Block V, SOCO’s specific area of interest is Lake Edward (approx 1,630 km2) and the adjacent lowland savannah which are both within the Virunga National Park.
No drilling has been planned or is even warranted at this stage. Currently, SOCO's only actual and planned activity is associated with:
- environmental and social studies;
- social investment programmes;
- scientific studies, which include a seismic survey on Lake Edward, in DRC waters, due to begin in April/May 2014.
SOCO’s Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, implemented through our HSES Management System, sets out our values of honesty and fairness and promoting trust amongst those with whom we work, including the protection of human rights and respect for the indigenous rights and cultures of the communities within our host countries. We adopt the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights implemented through our Security Policy and supporting procedures. Further policy and commitment statements relating to human rights can be viewed on our website, www.socointernational.com.