Outline of Proposed Work Plan in Block V, DRC
SOCO, an international oil and gas exploration and production company, today announces its proposed work plan regarding its exploration permit in Block V, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which encompasses a portion of Virunga National Park including a portion of Lake Edward.
SOCO has received approval to undertake an aero-survey, which entails flying over Lake Edward. This survey is planned to take place in the next few months. Dependent on the results of the survey, SOCO will then consider seeking approval, potentially around the third quarter of this year, to conduct a compressed air seismic survey on Lake Edward. Compressed air seismic has been recommended by the seismic contractor as it is not harmful to any nearby marine life. A seismic acquisition of this type has already been conducted on Lake Edward by another operator. Any activities beyond these would only be conducted with DRC approval and in conjunction with an appropriate consultation process with stakeholders. SOCO does not therefore anticipate undertaking any direct exploration activities within the Virunga National Park for at least six months.
Over the last year, SOCO has actively engaged with local communities, and regional and national authorities and other stakeholders regarding environmental and social impact assessments and potential activities described above. Most specifically, in an effort to bring stakeholders together for full debate, SOCO organised meetings under the authority of the Governor of North Kivu and the Environment Minister of North Kivu which was attended by over 90 stakeholder representatives including ICCN, international and regional NGOs, local fishery representatives, other interested DRC governmental ministries, local customary chiefs and regional and provincial authorities.
Roger Cagle, Deputy Chief Executive of SOCO, commented:“Our activities within the Virunga National Park continue to be very preliminary and confined to an aerial study. We will not undertake any direct activity within the Park until we have the results of this aero-survey and we have consulted fully with all primary stakeholders. Our current plans have met with the approvals of all the local authorities. We are very aware of the need to protect the interests of all stakeholders within the Park and are working hard to ensure that we do so.”
SOCO International plc
Roger Cagle, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer
Tel: 020 7747 2000
Pelham Bell Pottinger
Tel: 020 7861 3232
NOTES TO EDITORS:
SOCO is an international oil and gas exploration and production company, headquartered in London, traded on the London Stock Exchange and a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. The Company has interests in Vietnam, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) and Angola, with production operations in Vietnam.
SOCO holds its interests in Vietnam, all in the Cuu Long Basin offshore, through its 80% owned subsidiary SOCO Vietnam Ltd. and through its 100% ownership of OPECO Vietnam Limited. SOCO Vietnam Ltd. holds a 25% working interest in Block 9-2, which is operated by the Hoan Vu Joint Operating Company and holds a 28.5% working interest in Block 16-1, which is operated by the Hoang Long Joint Operating Company. OPECO Vietnam Limited holds a 2% interest in Block 16-1.
SOCO holds its interests in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), all offshore in the shallow water Lower Congo Basin, through its 85% owned subsidiary, SOCO Exploration and Production Congo SA ("SOCO EPC"). SOCO EPC holds a 29% participating interest in the Marine XI Block and a 29.4% participating interest in the Marine XIV Block and is designated operator of the two Blocks.
SOCO holds its interests in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) though its 85% owned subsidiary, SOCO Exploration and Production DRC Sprl ("SOCO E&P DRC"). SOCO E&P DRC holds a 65% participating interest in the Nganzi Block, situated in the North Congo Basin onshore western DRC, and a 38.25% participating interest in Block V, in the southern Albertine Graben onshore eastern DRC. SOCO E&P DRC is designated operator of both Blocks.
SOCO holds its interests in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda through its 80% owned subsidiary, SOCO Cabinda Limited, which holds a non-operated 17% participating interest in the Cabinda Onshore North Block located onshore in the North Congo Basin.