SOCO International plc ("SOCO" or "the Company")

SOCO is an international oil and gas exploration and production company, headquartered in London. The Company has interests in Vietnam, Mongolia, Yemen, Libya, Tunisia, Thailand and North Korea with production operations in Yemen, Tunisia and Mongolia.

SOCO Vietnam Limited ("SOCO Vietnam"), SOCO’s 80% owned subsidiary, and partners have completed drilling the second exploration well on the Voi Trang prospect in Block 16-1 in the Cuu Long Basin offshore Vietnam. The VT-2X well, which was designed primarily as a Basement test after the initial discovery well had inconclusive results in that zone, is being abandoned after finding no commercial accumulations of hydrocarbons.

The VT-2X vertical exploration well was drilled to a total depth of 2530 metres terminating after drilling a 268 metre section in Basement. The well was drilled down dip to the VT-1X discovery well that tested a maximum sustained rate of approximately 3,500 barrels of crude oil per day ("BOPD") from a section that included both Oligocene and Basement intervals. The oil recovered from the discovery well appeared to be sourced primarily from the Oligocene section due to a collapsed bore hole at the top of the Basement interval. Although there were good oil shows in the upper Oligocene section penetrated in this follow-up well, which was not primarily designed to appraise the Oligocene interval, the interval was not considered sufficient to test.

The rig will immediately move to a location to test the "B" prospect on Block 16-1. Subsequent to drilling the "B" prospect, the consortium will have satisfied the drilling obligations through the exploration phase of the Block 16-1 Production Sharing Contract thus enabling it to hold the Block through 2005. Following the well on the "B" prospect, the remainder of the four to five exploration/appraisal well programme for 2003 will be conducted on Block 9-2.

SOCO Vietnam holds a 28.5% interest in Block 16-1 and a 25% working interest in Block
9-2. Both Blocks are contiguous to the Bach Ho field, which is producing approximately 250,000 BOPD and 150 million cubic feet of gas per day, and the Rang Dong field, which is producing approximately 65,000 BOPD and 85 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Ed Story, President and Chief Executive of SOCO, commented:

"We chose to follow-up our discovery on the Voi Trang prospect with another exploration well hoping to unlock the potential of the Basement play on Block 16-1. With these results, which are not surprising given the high risk nature of the well, this objective continues to be a challenge. We will secure Block 16-1 through the exploration phase with the next well and then focus on moving Block 9-2 toward development as soon as the appraisal well on the CNV prospect there is ready to drill. We are confident that there will be a lot of good news to come out of Vietnam for SOCO this year."

24 March 2003


SOCO International plc
Tel: 020 7399 3300
Ed Story, Chief Executive
Roger Cagle, Chief Financial Officer

College Hill
Tel: 020 7457 2020
James Henderson

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