Soco Sells Tunisian Offshore Assets

SOCO has entered into a Sale and Purchase Agreement for its interests in the Zarat Permit offshore Tunisia in the Gulf of Gabes, which includes its 22.22% interest in the Didon producing field and a 22.22% percent interest, subject to the government's right to claim up to 55%, in the remaining permit area that includes the undeveloped Zarat and Elyssa Fields. These interests are held directly by SOCO Tunisia Pty Limited, which is in turn wholly owned by SOCO Overseas, the 100% owned entity of the Company that is being sold by SOCO in the transaction. The entity is being acquired by PA Resources AB ('PAB') a publicly listed Swedish company that holds other interests in Tunisia.

Pursuant to the Agreement, which has a 1 July 2004 effective date, PAB will acquire the whole of SOCO's Tunisian interests for the consideration of US$25 million (£13.5 million at an exchange rate of US$1.8585), subject to normal working capital adjustments. Completion is expected to take place on or before 3 December 2004. Working interest production to the Company from its Tunisian interests averaged 1,049 barrels of oil per day during the first half of 2004. SOCO's Tunisian proved and probable reserves on an entitlement basis totaled 6.3 million barrels at the end of 2003. For the year ended December 31, 2003, SOCO's Tunisian interests had turnover of £6.5 million, profit before tax of £3.2 million and, as at December 31, 2003, gross assets of £12.2 million.

The disposal is consistent with the Company's stated strategy of rationalizing its portfolio by monetizing non-core assets. The proceeds from this transaction will further strengthen the Company's debt free balance sheet, providing additional leverage to allow it to participate in further opportunities that may arise.

Ed Story, President and CEO of SOCO, said, 'This transaction with PA Resources is mutually beneficial as it provides SOCO additional capital to deploy toward projects that can further enhance it's core portfolio and places these assets with a group for which this is a core area.'