Vietnam OKs Block 16-1 Appraisal Areas in Cuu Long Basin

SOCO International has been informed by the Hoang Long Joint Operating Company ("HLJOC"), operator of Block 16-1 in the Cuu Long Basin offshore Vietnam, that the Vietnamese Government has approved the application for the Te Giac Den ("TGD") and Voi Trang ("VT") Appraisal Areas within Block 16-1.

The TGD Appraisal Area encompasses an area of 150 square kilometers including the high pressure, high temperature ("HPHT") discovery well TGD-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 the Field Development Plan approval is expected by June 2009 and first oil targeted for mid-2011. Seismic reprocessing over the TGD appraisal area is currently underway with final results expected in September 2009. Initial preparation work has started for drilling a TGD appraisal well in the second quarter of 2010.

The VT Appraisal Area, the award of which is conditional upon a successful Reserves Assessment Report of the commerciality of the previous discoveries in the awarded area, covers an area of 100 square kilometers. A technical re-evaluation of the VT discovery well and the adjacent Leads is ongoing, with preliminary results expected in June 2009.

Ed Story, President and Chief Executive of SOCO, commented, "Vietnam Governmental approval of the Appraisal Areas puts us in the position to finalize our evaluation of the remaining potential in our current Vietnam portfolio within 18 months. We believe that the HPHT play area has the potential to overshadow the already considerable success we have had in Vietnam to date."