PetroVietnam Awards SOCO 2 Appraisal Areas Offshore Vietnam

The Company has been informed by the Hoang Long Joint Operating Company ("HLJOC"), operator of Block 16-1 in the Cuu Long Basin offshore Vietnam, that PetroVietnam, the national oil company of Vietnam, has approved the application for two appraisal areas within Block 16-1. HLJOC will now submit the documentation required for the formal approval of the Government of Vietnam.

The Te Giac Den ("TGD") appraisal area encompasses an area of 150 square kilometers including the HTHP discovery well Te Giac Den 1X-ST1 on prospect E, and the analogous E South Prospect. This area borders the southern boundary of the Te Giac Trang ("TGT") field where pre-development activity is underway.

The Voi Trang appraisal area, the award of which is conditional upon a successful reserve assessment report ("RAR") of the commerciality of the previous discoveries in the awarded area, encompasses the Voi Trang discovery and several adjacent leads, and covers an area of approximately 100 square kilometers.

Upon receiving final governmental approval of the appraisal areas, which is expected in January 2009, work will commence immediately to reprocess the 3D seismic over the TGD appraisal area in anticipation of drilling a well in 2010. The RAR on the Voi Trang appraisal area is anticipated to be complete by the end of the second quarter of 2009.

Ed Story, President and Chief Executive of SOCO, commented, "PetroVietnam's agreement for the approval of the Te Giac Den appraisal area in the HTHP play area is a very significant development for SOCO in that it affords us the opportunity to incorporate our previous drilling results with re-processed seismic and to plan an effective drilling program to return to this highly prospective area. In fact, the HPHT area has the potential to overshadow the already considerable success we have had in Vietnam to date."