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 has completed the first stage of its 2002 Vietnam drilling programme with the drilling of the Block 16-1 Ngua O well.

The well was drilled to a depth of 3,684 metres, penetrating approximately 520 metres into basement. Mud logging indicated substantial oil shows in both the upper Miocene and basement sections. It was determined that the reservoir characteristics in the upper Miocene were not sufficiently developed to warrant testing. A drill stem test (“DST”) was conducted in a basement interval of 3,174 metres to 3,563 metres after encountering multiple fracture systems. The DST recovered oil at rates of approximately 250 barrels per day over an 18 hour interval. The well has been abandoned. A decision regarding a horizontal or deviated well to further appraise this prospect will be deferred until after the data gathered from this first well have been thoroughly analysed.

The rig will be moved immediately to a location on Block 9-2 to spud the initial well on this Block, the second well in a minimum four well programme.

SOCO currently holds a 15% working interest in Block 16-1, but is carried up to a maximum amount of US$50 million by PTT Exploration and Production Company Limited of Thailand through the initial exploration programmes in both Block 16-1 and 9-2 under the terms of a farm-out agreement announced earlier this year. Both Blocks are contiguous to the Bach Ho (approximately 285,000 BOPD) and the Rang Dong (approximately 55,000 BOPD) producing fields.

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

“The results of the first of our four well drilling programme in the Cuu Long Basin are encouraging, although we would have obviously preferred a definitive result from the initial well. The next stage is to decide whether or not a horizontal appraisal well, which typically dramatically increases flow rates in this basin, can be justified on this prospect. However, we believe that the results from this well have positive implications for the largest prospect identified on Block 16-1. There is clearly an active hydrocarbon system on the Block. With the data gained from this well, it appears that both the “source” and “seal” risks on the larger prospect are lower than previously projected.”

16 July 2002


SOCO International plc
Ed Story, Chief Executive
Roger Cagle, Chief Financial Officer
Tel: 020 7 399 3300

College Hill
James Henderson
Tel: 020 7 457 2020

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