SOCO International

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Soco International plc
Public (LSESIA)
Industry Oil and Gas Exploration
Founded 1997
Headquarters London, England, UK
Key people
Rui de Sousa, Chairman
Ed Story, CEO
Revenue $608.1 million (2013)[1]
$333.8 million (2013)[1]
$104.1 million (2013)[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 and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


The company was formed by Ed Story in 1991 to exploit international oil opportunities as a subsidiary of Snyder Oil Corporation of the USA.[2] It was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in May 1997.[2] In 2008 the Company agreed to sell its operations in Yemen to Sinochem for $465 million.[3] In 2010 the company agreed to sell its Thailand assets to UK listed Salamander Energy for $105m.[4] 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.[5]


The Company is currently active in the following regions:[2]


In 2010 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.[6] 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 currently encompasses an area of the Virunga National Park, a World Heritage Site, including a part of Lake Edward. SOCO has made it clear that Block V is not located close to the Mikeno Sector (home to the gorillas).[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]

In June, 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.[11]

See also[edit]

Virunga (2014 documentary film)


External links[edit]