SOCO International's subsidiary, SOCO Exploration and Production Congo S.A.(SOCO EPC), has entered into a farm-out agreement wherein it has agreed to farm-out 8.5% of its interest in the Marine XI Block, offshore the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), to Petrovietnam Exploration Production Corporation Ltd. SOCO EPC will remain as the operator with a 29% working interest in the Block. The remaining interests are held by Lundin Marine SARL (18.75%), Raffia Oil SARL (18.75%), the national oil company, Societe Nationale des Petroles du Congo (15%) and Africa Oil & Gas Corporation (10%).
The block, located in the Lower Congo Basin, is in shallow water adjacent to the coast with water depths ranging up to 110 meters and covers approximately 1,400 square kilometers. There has been previous exploration activity on the block, resulting in four small oil discoveries, the largest of which has initial recoverable reserves estimated to be in the 30 to 60 million barrel range. The Marine XI consortium expects to tender around mid-year for a multi-well drilling program, which is likely to commence in the second half of 2008.
The assignment of interests is subject to approval of the appropriate regulatory authorities of the Government of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), waivers of any third party preferential rights, and certain obligations of Petrovietnam.
"We have worked very closely with Petrovietnam for many years and are, therefore, pleased that we can assist in expanding their international presence to West Africa," said Ed Story, president and chief executive of SOCO.
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