SOCO International plc ("SOCO" or "the Company")

SOCO is an international oil and gas exploration and production company, headquartered in London. The Company has interests in Vietnam, Mongolia, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Thailand and North Korea with production operations in Yemen, Tunisia and Mongolia.

SOCO Vietnam Limited ("SOCO Vietnam"), SOCO's 80% owned subsidiary, and partners have completed the final well in the initial four well exploration drilling programme offshore Vietnam in the Cuu Long Basin. The Ca Ong Doi-1X ("COD-1X") vertical exploration well was drilled to a total depth of 4,618 metres terminating in granite wash.

The well encountered more than 1,050 metres of oil shows from inter-bedded Oligocene sands and shale source rocks. A drill stem test ("DST") was conducted over an open hole section from 3,565 metres to 4,618 metres. However, the interval was not heavily fractured and reservoir quality was therefore inadequate to yield commercial quantities of hydrocarbons.

From seismic re-interpretation, the COD-1X well appeared to be approximately five kilometres from the top of the Basement structure in a location chosen to test both Oligocene and Basement potential. On the basis of information gained from this well, the Company expects a subsequent exploration well will be drilled on the newly interpreted crest of the Basement structure.

The COD-1X was the fourth and final well drilled under terms of a 2002 farm-out agreement wherein SOCO Vietnam was carried up to a maximum amount of US$50 million by PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited of Thailand. Following its release from this well, the drilling rig will be moved immediately to a location on Block 16-1 to spud another exploration well on prospect "A" as a follow-up to the Voi Trang discovery last year which tested 3,500 barrels of oil per day ("BOPD"). This will be the first of an expected four to five exploration/appraisal well programme for 2003.

SOCO Vietnam holds a 25% working interest in Block 9-2 and a 28.5% interest in Block 16-1, pending finalisation of a transaction to acquire one half of the interest in the Block currently held by a subsidiary of Amerada Hess. Both Blocks are contiguous to the Bach Ho field, which is producing approximately 250,000 BOPD and 150 million cubic feet of gas per day, and the Rang Dong field, which is producing approximately 65,000 BOPD and 85 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Ed Story, President and Chief Executive of SOCO, commented:

"We’ve enjoyed the rare success of having drilled four exploration wells in the Basin and encountering oil in all the wells. Two of these were significant discoveries. Although the COD-1X well location lacked adequate reservoir in the Oligocene, the well penetrated over 1,000 metres of oil bearing source rock on the flank of this large Basement structure. This geological setting arguably ranks this structure as one of the best sourced oil regimes in the world. We remain very enthusiastic about the potential of prospect "C" on Block 9-2 and expect to demonstrate this potential with another well once all of the data can be integrated into a new interpretation. In the meantime, we will continue an active four to five well exploration and appraisal programme in 2003 on the prospects in Blocks 16-1 and 9-2."



14 February 2003


Enquiries:

SOCO International plc
Tel: 020 7399 3300
Ed Story, Chief Executive
Roger Cagle, Chief Financial Officer

College Hill
Tel: 020 7457 2020
James Henderson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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