Congo Ministry Oks SOCO's Marine XIV Farm-In

The Company announces that the Deed of Assignment, under which its subsidiary, SOCO Exploration and Production Congo S.A. ("SOCO EPC"), acquired a 29.4% Working Interest in the Marine XIV Block, offshore the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), from PA Resources Congo S.A. ("PA Congo"), has received regulatory approval from the Government of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville).

As previously announced, SOCO EPC has become the operator of the Block, with PA Congo retaining a 12.5% interest and the national oil company, Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo, holding a 15% carried interest. The remaining interests are held by fellow farm-in participants and joint venture partners on the Marine XI Block, Raffia Oil SARL (21.55%) and a subsidiary of Lundin Petroleum (21.55%).

The Marine XIV Block, located in the Lower Congo Basin, is in shallow water adjacent to the Company's Marine XI Block and will complement SOCO's activity both operationally and technically. The Block comprises three discontinuous sections located in water depths ranging up to 115 meters and covers approximately 265 square kilometers. Previous exploration activity on the Block has resulted in oil discoveries.

SOCO EPC is currently acquiring 3D seismic on the Marine XIV Block which is expected to be completed during the first quarter of this year. It also expects to begin exploratory drilling on the adjacent Marine XI Block during the third quarter of 2009.