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Participation in New Licence Area in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 7/19/2006, Location: Africa

SOCO announces that its subsidiary, SOCO DRC Limited, has signed a Production Sharing Contract with the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and La Congolaise des Hydrocarbures ("Cohydro"), the state owned oil company, wherein it has acquired an interest in the Nganzi block, onshore the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa).

SOCO DRC will be the operator with an 85% working interest in the block. Cohydro holds the remaining interest. In 2005 under a memorandum of understanding signed with the government, SOCO carried out a reconnaissance aeromagnetic and gravity survey over the onshore extension of the coastal basin in order to delineate prospective areas for hydrocarbon generation and migration. The survey indicated the presence of a deep pre-salt source graben in the northern part of the basin in the Nganzi Block. Regional mapping shows the graben to be on trend with the source basin for the M’Boundi field in the southern part of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). Several leads, interpreted as large horst blocks, have been identified on the Block. These will be further evaluated by 2D seismic in 2007.

The Nganzi Block comprises an area of approximately 800 square kilometres. There has been little previous activity. Two wells were drilled on poor quality seismic in the 1970s, no other seismic has been acquired. Using modern seismic techniques and applying new pre-salt play concepts, SOCO DRC expects to exploit the potential of the block. Ed Story, President and Chief Executive of SOCO, commented: "This is a very important addition to our core area in West Africa. We see this as a continuation of the play type identified offshore in our Marine XI project offshore the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). Accordingly, it offers the same potential for exponential exploration reserve growth that we are currently demonstrating in Vietnam and Yemen."

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