SOCO International plc (“SOCO” or the “Company”)

 

AGM TRADING AND OPERATIONS UPDATE

SOCO International, an international oil and gas exploration and production company, issues the following trading and operations update in advance of the Company’s Annual General Meeting to be held at 10:00 today. At the meeting, Ed Story, President and Chief Executive Officer, will make a presentation which will be made available on the Company website http://www.socointernational.com.

 

Ed Story, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“SOCO’s operational and financial health remains robust. We have a strong balance sheet, steady cash flows, no debt, low operating costs and attractive Vietnam production economics, all of which are significant differentiators for the Company within our sector.

“Progress towards maximising value from SOCO’s Africa portfolio continues and our intention remains to improve and diversify our portfolio with assets at appropriate valuations.

“The Directors are fully committed to the strategy of shareholder value creation through cash returns to shareholders and growth of the ongoing business. Including the proposed final dividend of 2p per share for 2015, SOCO has returned $448m to shareholders in capital returns, share buybacks and cash dividends since 2013. We have a business model that works and the capacity and momentum to ensure that we continue to deliver value and growth through the cycle.”

 

Operations update

VIETNAM

Production

  • Stable rates of production from Te Giac Trang (“TGT”) and Ca Ngu Vang (“CNV”) fields
  • Production net to the Group’s working interest averaged 11,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (“BOEPD”) through May 2016
  • TGT field production for January-May averaged 31,217 BOEPD gross and 9,380 BOEPD net to SOCO
  • CNV field production for January-May averaged 6,481 BOEPD gross and 1,620 BOEPD net to SOCO
    • Four TGT well interventions to date with expectation of adding 1,600 BOEPD of gross production, actually added approx. 2,200 BOEPD of gross production
      • Production guidance for 2016 is maintained at 10,000-11,500 BOEPD
    • The high end of the range is dependent on the well intervention programme, the first phase of which commenced in May of this year, as well as the approval and implementation of the Full Field Development Plan (“FFDP”), the first draft of which is expected this month

Development

TGT Field (30.5% interest; operated by Hoang Long Joint Operating Company (“HLJOC”))

The update to the TGT Hydrocarbons In Place (“Reserve Assessment Report” or “RAR”) received formal approval of the Vietnam authorities on 1 April 2016.

Progress on the updated TGT Field Development Plan (“FFDP”) continues with the first review meeting due later in June. As part of the regular evaluation programme, the HLJOC has recently completed a production logging programme on a selection of wells on the field. This work is being evaluated to inform the next batch of proposals for additional perforations and/or water shut-offs.

The HLJOC has also recently added perforations to four wells and ran a water shut off liner in one. These efforts have added approx. 2,200 BOEPD of gross production, exceeding expectations. Additional perforations in two other wells have been proposed and will be added in late-June.

CNV Field (25% interest; operated by Hoan Vu Joint Operating Company)

The detailed engineering studies of technical options for increasing production through modifications to the process facilities on the reception platform at Bach Ho have been initiated and are expected to be presented to the partners by the end of Q3.

New Ventures

Blocks 125/126, offshore Vietnam: approval has been received by the Vietnamese Government to enter into formal negotiations for a 70% interest in a Production Sharing Contract. Further updates can be expected later this year.

 

Africa Portfolio

Marine XI Block (Operated, 40.39% working interest)

SOCO is progressing discussions with the Congo (Brazzaville) authorities with regards to commercialisation options of the Lidongo well discovery. A Production License Application has been submitted and discussion with the authorities is ongoing. Separately, seismic reprocessing following successful discoveries on the neighbouring blocks is complete and being interpreted to define additional potential within the Block.

Mer Profonde Sud Block (Operated, 60% working interest):

As previously announced, although the obligation exploration well drilled in February 2016 found good quality sands, no hydrocarbons were encountered, suggesting lack of communication with the known oil source. The well, drilled on time and with no lost time injuries, was plugged and abandoned and the drilling programme was executed approximately $5m under budget. The Block will now be relinquished.

Cabinda North Block (Non-operated, 17% working interest)

The discussions are progressing amongst the partners to agree the composition of the new partnership, operator and work programme. This is expected to be concluded shortly.

 

Financial update

  • SOCO retains its financial flexibility, given no debt on the balance sheet, low operating costs and attractive Vietnam production economics
  • 2015 dividend of 2p per share (approx. $10m) expected to be approved at the AGM and to be paid on 17 June 2016
    • Balance sheet continues to be robust; cash balance of approx. $90m as at 8 June 2016; no debt
  • 2016 exploration and development programme remains fully funded from existing cash resources
  • Operating expenditure at approx. $10 per barrel; operating cash flow break-even oil price per barrel in the low $20s.
  • Capital expenditure budget of $45m (lowered from $54m)
    1. Vietnam $17m (reduced from $18m).
    2. Africa $28m (reduced from $36m), including cost savings achieved on the MPS well.
  • Average realised oil price per barrel of approx. $39 for the first five months of 2016, representing a premium of approx. $1 to Brent; a similar premium is expected for the remainder of 2016
  • Cost savings initiatives continue as the Kinshasa and Calgary office closures are completed and the Pointe Noire office has been downsized
    • We are seeing positive progress on the process to initiate the payments associated with our 2005 disposal of our Mongolian assets and we have reinforcement from the debtor of the monies owed; collection shall be rigorously pursued

 

Strategic

SOCO continues to review options to maximise value from its Africa portfolio including rationalisation and farm-out of all or part of its asset base in the region.

SOCO’s Board continues to be committed to its strategy of shareholder value creation through sustainable cash returns to shareholders and growth of the ongoing business. The Board anticipates that, given an oil price at or above current levels and no major adverse surprises in our budget for the year, a special payout may be distributed in the second half of the year. 

 

 

ENQUIRIES:

SOCO International plc

Roger Cagle, Deputy Chief Executive and CFO

Antony Maris, Chief Operating Officer

Tel: 020 7747 2000

 

Bell Pottinger

Nick Lambert

Elizabeth Snow

Tel: 020 3772 2500           

 

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

SOCO is an international oil and gas exploration and production company, headquartered in London and traded on the London Stock Exchange. The Company has field development and production interests in Vietnam, and exploration and appraisal interests in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and Angola.

 

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