SOCO to Operate New License Area in the Democratic Republic of Congo

SOCO International plc said that its subsidiary, SOCO DRC Limited, has signed a production sharing contract with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and La Congolaise des Hydrocarbures (Cohydro), the state-owned oil company, wherein it has acquired an interest in the Nganzi block, onshore the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa).

SOCO DRC will be the operator with an 85% working interest in the block. Cohydro holds the remaining interest. In 2005, under a memorandum of understanding signed with the government, SOCO carried out a reconnaissance aeromagnetic and gravity survey over the onshore extension of the coastal basin in order to delineate prospective areas for hydrocarbon generation and migration. The survey indicated the presence of a deep pre-salt source graben in the northern part of the basin in the Nganzi Block. Regional mapping shows the graben to be on trend with the source basin for the M’Boundi field in the southern part of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). Several leads, interpreted as large horst blocks, have been identified on the Block. These will be further evaluated by 2D seismic in 2007.

The Nganzi Block comprises an area of approximately 800 square kilometers. There has been little previous activity. Two wells were drilled on poor-quality seismic in the 1970s, and no other seismic has been acquired. Using modern seismic techniques and applying new pre-salt play concepts, SOCO DRC expects to exploit the potential of the block.

“This is a very important addition to our core area in West Africa,” said Ed Story, SOCO’s president and chief executive. “We see this as a continuation of the play type identified offshore in our Marine XI project offshore the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). Accordingly, it offers the same potential for exponential exploration reserve growth that we are currently demonstrating in Vietnam and Yemen.”

SOCO is a London-based international oil and gas exploration and production company that is traded on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. The company has interests in Vietnam, Yemen, Thailand, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) with production operations in Yemen.