SOCO International

Soco International plc
Traded as LSE: SIA
Industry Oil and Gas Exploration
Founded 1997 as Snyder Oil Corporation International
Headquarters London, England, UK
Key people
Rui de Sousa, Chairman
Ed Story, CEO
Revenue $448.2 million (2014)[1]
$152.6 million (2014)[1]
$14.0 million (2014)[1]

SOCO International plc is an international oil and gas exploration and production company, headquartered in London. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

The Company has interests in Vietnam, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and Angola.[2]


The CEO, Ed Story, focused the Company on international gas and oil exploration and production, and the Company soon held assets in Mongolia, Tunisia, Yemen, and Thailand.[3]

In 2008 the Company agreed to sell its operations in Yemen to Sinochem for $465 million.[4] In 2010 the company agreed to sell its Thailand assets to UK listed Salamander Energy for $105m.[5] During 2010, the company is aiming to derisk 600 million barrels of potential net recoverable reserves with a drilling programme focused in Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Congo.[6]


Vietnam - Cuu Long Basin Blocks 9-2 and 16-1 (Te Giac Trang field)

SOCO has been active in Vietnam since 1996 and currently has two oil and gas producing Blocks in the country: Block 9-2 and Block 16-1.[7] SOCO commenced first oil production in August 2015.

Angola - Cabinda Onshore North Block

SOCO has a 17% interest in Cabinda Onshore North Block, in the North Congo Basin, onshore western Cabinda.[8]

Congo Brazzaville - Marine XI

In February 2016 SOCO started drilling the Baobab Marine-1 well in the Mer Profonde Sud block offshore the Republic of Congo. SOCO said the well is "unique" to all of the other wells drilled on or near that block because it is targeting a different type of prospect. The well is targeting gross prospective recoverable resources of 330 million barrels of oil.[9] [10]

Democratic Republic of Congo - Onshore North Congo Basin

SOCO’s operations in eastern DRC commenced in 2013 with a short bathymetry study of Lake Edward and ceased in August 2014, in accordance with its June 2014 public commitment and SOCO is no longer conducting any operations anywhere in DRC.[11][12]


In 2012 SOCO began to explore for oil in the Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is home to 200 of the remaining 700 seriously endangered mountain gorilla.[13] SOCO said it was not drilling for oil and had no plans to drill.[14] [15] Drilling was strongly opposed and condemned by the World Wide Fund for Nature. In 2010 SOCO received a Presidential decree from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to explore for hydrocarbons in Block V, in the southern Albertine Graben, onshore eastern DRC. Block V encompassed an area of the Virunga National Park, a World Heritage Site, including a part of Lake Edward. SOCO had made it clear that Block V was not located close to the Mikeno Sector (home to the gorillas).[16]

In January 2011 SOCO employees allegedly forced their way into the Park, resulting in the conservateur of the park and several international agencies declaring their intention to bring lawsuits against SOCO, and a fall in SOCO's share price.[17] SOCO’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Roger Cagle said at the time that “The forcible entry is blatantly false.” Cagle said Soco was with a provincial member of parliament and had permission to enter the park.[18]

In March 2011 the then DRC Environment Minister Jose Endundo rejected an environmental assessment submitted by SOCO and announced that the government would now be conducting its own environmental assessment into oil exploration in Virunga, as well as the entire border region. Nevertheless, in September 2011 former Minister Endundo passed an order giving SOCO the authorisation to conduct the evaluation of hydrocarbons in the context of the Strategic Environmental Evaluation.[19]

In June 2014, SOCO signed a joint declaration with the World Wildlife Fund, saying it would not drill in Virunga “unless Unesco and the D.R.C. government agree that such activities are not incompatible with its World Heritage status”. World Wildlife Fund executives now acknowledge that the battle over Virunga is hardly over. SOCO has yet to relinquish its operating permits or commit to an unconditional withdrawal…”They’re leaving the door open,” said Zach Abraham, director of the World Wildlife Fund’s global campaigns.[20]

In a statement, Ed Story, SOCO’s chief executive, said: “Hopefully we can all get back to activities focused on both people and the environment where it does the most good for a place that we think can have a better future.”[21]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Preliminary Results 2014" (PDF). SOCO International. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  4. Soco agrees to sell Yemen ops to China's Sinochem for $465 million Forbes, 2 April 2008
  5. Proposed Disposal of Soco Thailand Company Website, 20 July 2010
  6. SOCO International launching major oil exploration programme Stockopedia May 17, 2010
  13. "DR Congo blocks Soco from oil search in Virunga park". BBC News. 2011-03-18. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  16. "Block V and the Virunga National Park". Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  17. "Congo Wildlife Authority Presses Charges Against Soco". 2011-02-17. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  18. "Congo Wildlife Authority Presses Charges Against Soco (Correct) -". 2011-02-17. Retrieved 2013-03-29.
  19. Ministry of the Environment
  20. Gettleman, Jeffrey (2014-11-15). "Oil Dispute Takes a Page From Congo's Bloody Past". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-11-18.

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