Soco Wraps Up 2003 Vietnam Drilling Program

Soco and its partners in the Cuu Long Basin offshore Vietnam have concluded the drilling of the Ca Ngu Vang-2XST ("CNV-2XST"), a horizontal sidetrack to the vertical appraisal well CNV-2X, on Block 9-2 offshore Vietnam in the Cuu Long Basin. Both wells were follow up wells to the CNV-1X discovery well announced in September 2002.

Kicked off from the CNV-2X appraisal well, the CNV-2XST well extended 2,200 meters northeast toward the Rang Dong producing field in the opposite direction from the original CNV-1X discovery well. Oil shows were encountered throughout the Basement section over a total measured depth interval in excess of 1,400 meters. This well extends the known area of oil in the CNV structure to approximately four kilometers from the original discovery well. However, like the appraisal well, this well did not naturally flow when put on barefoot test. There was no evidence of formation water in the CNV-2XST well.

The results of this well underscore the need to reprocess existing seismic in order to better delineate the major fracture zones necessary to achieving significant flow rates from the wells. Partners are now developing an appropriate work program to prepare for the next drilling campaign. Soco's current expectations are that plans to test both the COD structure and the CNV structure during the second quarter of 2004 will be developed based on interpretation of the reprocessed data. Accordingly, the rig which has been used to drill all of SOCO Vietnam's wells in the Cuu Long Basin thus far has been released.

Ed Story, President and Chief Executive of SOCO, commented: "We are confident that a significant successful outcome in Vietnam is not at question, but the timing of that outcome is. We knew that interpretation of the initial seismic processing was based on limited information and was not providing a desired level of accuracy from the results on the COD well, but thought that with the early success on CNV we could overcome this to potentially fast track commerciality prior to completing the multiple reprocessing iterations that are typical in this region. We do not intend to continue to look for fractures with the drill bit before we have gained confidence in the seismic."