DRC - Congo (K)

Tuesday, May 26 2009 by


The Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) is a country where SOCO has an increasing interest.

At present, the only fully-ratified block is Nganzi, where SOCO's subsidiary holds an 85% stake. As I indicated in the recent thread here http://www.stockopedia.com/forum/view/28022/interim-management-statement there appear to be several large prospects on the block and they are likely to be drilled in Q2 2010 - and look sufficiently interesting that they may not be farmed-down first!

There are at least two other blocks of interest to SOCO in DRC, with Block 5 (including part of Lake Edward) the furthest advanced, having a signed PSC and awaiting only the Presidential Decree. SOCO has a 38.25% stake there and will drill two explo wells in the first five years after the decree. Partner Dominion speaks very highly of the potential of Block 5, especially under Lake Edward which may well turn out to be an analogue of Lake Albert to the north, which has provided company-making discoveries for Tullow and Heritage.

This thread is intended to discuss all activities of SOCO within the Democratic Republic of Congo.


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SOCO International plc (SOCO) is an oil and gas exploration and production company. The Company's segments include South East Asia and Africa. It has field development and production interests in Vietnam, and exploration and appraisal interests in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and Angola. In Vietnam, SOCO's Block 16-1 and Block 9-2 include the Te Giac Trang and Ca Ngu Vang Fields, which are located in shallow water in the Cuu Long Basin, near the Bach Ho Field. SOCO holds working interest in Block 16-1 and Block 9-2 through its subsidiaries, SOCO Vietnam Ltd and OPECO Vietnam Limited. SOCO holds its interests in the Marine XI Block, located offshore Congo (Brazzaville) in the shallow water Lower Congo Basin, through its subsidiary, SOCO EPC. SOCO holds working interest in the Mer Profonde Sud Block, offshore Congo (Brazzaville) through its subsidiary, SOCO Congo BEX Limited. SOCO's subsidiary, SOCO Cabinda Limited, holds participation interests in the Cabinda North Block. more »

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495 Posts on this Thread show/hide all

emptyend 19th Jun '14 476 of 495

In reply to peterg, post #475

I would much rather that we had a complete 12 months of silence on this issue, not only in the press but on these boards. We can all see what might potentially be agreed but neither we nor the company can control what is agreed - so why not let the authorities get on with whatever they wish to decide/agree?

The Company have been 100% clear. They will not drill in a World Heritage Site unless UNESCO agree it. Frankly that is a completely ethical position, and the young lad from Global Witness has no business trying to imply otherwise.

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tournesol 20th Jun '14 477 of 495

I've just spent a week in a Unesco designated World Heritage Site - the Dolomites National Park in Italy. It is an amazingly beautiful area - mountains and rivers and alpine meadows with millions of wild flowers. But it is also a major tourist attraction with millions of visitors coming in every year for winter sports and for the summer season. And it is criss-crossed with roads which have been built/upgraded using funding from supra-national bodies. And there is significant development to provide tourist accommodation and infrastructure. In fact everywhere you go you encounter building and development work in progress.

It strikes me as hypocritical in the extreme for rich western people to curtail the freedom of developing nations to develop their national assets - as in Virunga - leaving millions in abject poverty. Whilst closer to home we allow ourselves the liberty to exploit natural resources whether mineral or scenic.

What is needed is not a blanket ban on economic exploitation - that's like prohibition - it criminalises fields of activity and leaves them in the hands of ruthless crooks. What we need is thoughtful, careful development, done by good non-corrupt governments and competent, ethical businesses. This applies to oil exploration whether it is done in the Virunga National Park or - what was that remarkable phrase? - the unoccupied wastelands of Lancashire.

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kenobi 20th Jun '14 478 of 495

It strikes me as hypocritical in the extreme for rich western people to curtail the freedom of developing nations to develop their national assets - as in Virunga - leaving millions in abject poverty. Whilst closer to home we allow ourselves the liberty to exploit natural resources whether mineral or scenic.

 Hi T Hope you had a nice holiday,  is that why you didn't make the soco agm this year ?

To be fair to the wwf/unesco,  it seems to me that the thrust of their arguement is not no development, it's let do excactly the above to virunga in an sustainable way.   Whether it's viable and you really could attract the number of people needed,  I have no idea.   Re your last paragraph re a good non corrupt government,  I can't imagine that anyone woud be opposed to that,  but think you might struggle to find one of them anywhere in africa, 


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jonnyt 20th Jun '14 479 of 495

I actually live in a UNESCO World Heritage site and I don't ask for permission every time I get my Black and Decker out.

I have also located an active oil seep in the undercliffs though I doubt anyone else has noticed or would even consider drilling.

On a more serious note there is less than a 5% chance that Soco will ever drill in the park. My view is that they should just abandon the license and not waste anymore shareholders funds.

WWF 1 Soco 0

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peterg 20th Jun '14 480 of 495

In reply to kenobi, post #478

To be fair to the wwf/unesco, it seems to me that the thrust of their arguement is not no development, it's let do excactly the above to virunga in an sustainable way.

I don't think it's fair to Unesco to lump them with WWF like that. Unesco understandably have real concerns, but they haven't been running a seriously misleading PR campaign on the issue. As for the WWF idea of "sustainable tourism" it sounds remarkably like what T was describing from the Dolomites, doesn't it? Presumably lots of hotels, roads, need for fresh water, sewage disposal, Western produce imports, an airport(?), loads of aviation fuel to get everyone there and back - etc, etc. Maybe water sports on Lake Edward too? Is that really loads less of on an imposition on the local ecology and population? More appealing to WWF supporters who might be the clients, maybe, but that's not how the issue should be resolved..

To bring in serious money it's going to have to be seriously disruptive.

Anyway it is now (other than the seismic results interpretation) out of Soco's hands. It will be up to the DRC and Unesco, not the WWF or Soco, to make a decision on allowing further explo.


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kenobi 20th Jun '14 481 of 495

Yes good points Peter,

I don't think we're suggesting quiet that much development, but they are promoting that kind of development, but with high valuevisitors / safaris, yes it would be disruptive, possibly more so that oil exploration ? but they're arguing for sustainable, on going development, I'm not saying they're right, I would assume that the best thing would be to do some of each, I'm just saying that "they" are not promoting no development just sustainable non hydrocarbon development.

Again, I'm not promoting that view, but I can understand where they're coming from, I/we here see a solution where the boarders are re draw, the park ends up bigger, the oil money could be used to kick start the other sustainable development, so that the oil revenues are leveraged to create on going income for the park/region.


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kenobi 1st Jul '14 482 of 495


Interesting article questioning the view that oil exploration is bad vs other development good. Echos some of Peters points from this thread,



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macroeconomix 3rd Jul '14 483 of 495

Looks like Soco's work in the Democratic Republic of Congo gets a mention from James Delingpole in his article he wrote this coming Saturday:

Thought it might be of interest to some on here.

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tournesol 3rd Jul '14 484 of 495

In reply to macroeconomix, post #483

Delingpole is bang on target - good article.

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shanklin100 4th Jul '14 485 of 495

FYI, yesterday in The Times, there is an article by Euan Munro, CE of Aviva Investors,


advocating a long-term approach to investment both by companies and investors.

In what is generally a sensible article, the only individual specific example he identifies is as follows:

"We use our votes to shape better and longer-term behaviour in the companies we invest in. We have seen some high-profile victories in this area recently, where we, along with others, encouraged SOCO International, a UK-listed resources company, not to drill in the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a UN-designated site of scientific importance."

Sadly ignorance truly is bliss as he seems rather proud of the above.

All IMHO, DYOR. Cheers, Martin

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peterg 4th Jul '14 486 of 495

In reply to kenobi, post #482

Thanks K,

Interesting link, and a good article. As you imply it reflects my thinking pretty well!


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emptyend 8th Jul '14 487 of 495

In reply to macroeconomix, post #483

A few months ago, I read an article by Delingpole about the failure of the Chevron greenmailers in Ecuador. There are a number of others (as can be found by Google). It is completely shameful that Delingpole is almost on his own in our supposedly free "investigative" press in doing a decent job of seeing through all the greenshit.

Strange how the "free press" is so cult-like on these matters - but then if every paper has some useless twat or another as "environmental correspondent" and editors who are more interested in photos of Anna Friel or gorillas than the truth, then I guess this is the sort of thing you get. 

I note that whilst I've been away the press has suddenly discovered the scandals of paedophilia in high places that have been under their noses and ignored for decades - so it really just looks like "par for the course". I'm not sure why Leveson seems to thing that a useless free press is worth having. Maybe the only scandals that the press are interested in investigating is when sex, power, politics or money are involved in a really obvious way?

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emptyend 8th Jul '14 488 of 495

In reply to shanklin100, post #485

Sadly ignorance truly is bliss as he seems rather proud of the above

It is a good example of what happens when you employ a bunch of people whose sole function is to press companies on corporate governance issues. They find a well-publicised, "easy" case ....write lots of "investigative" reports - having palled up up with lobbists who are equally self-interested - and then write up a report on their activities which justifies their own existence and which can't be really challenged by a busy CEO in any meaningful way.

I used to see the same sort of behaviours in local government in the 1970s - quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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shanklin100 8th Jul '14 489 of 495

In reply to emptyend, post #488

I did not have Boris Johnson to hand to translate that piece of Latin but Googling indicates it means "Who will watch the Watchmen?"

Very true. Unfortunately the main occupation of some of these charities is IMHO to maximise their income which they apparently see as being 100% consistent with their stated objective of maximising the public good in some respect or another.

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Judge Dredd 8th Jul '14 490 of 495

In reply to emptyend, post #487

One thing to add to the Chevron case, something which will warm the hearts of its shareholders, is that Chevron recently won a case against the lawyer who represented the Ecuadorians (and his firm) using the RICO act (RICO = Racketeer Influnced Corrupt Organisations).

Those of us who've seen enough modern-day mobster dramas like "The Sopranos" know of RICO as the act which is used to demolish organised crime groups because it also goes after the money with only the civil law burden of proof (on the balance of probabilities) instead of the "beyond all reasonable doubt" of criminal law. 

This makes it much easier to win your case and since you routinely get triple damages the financial consequences for the defendants can be quite horrific.


This is the sort of thing that companies should use against greenmailers and other anti-corporate activists who routinely lie through their teeth and use all manner of deceptive practices.

Personally I'd like to see Soco sue the Guardian for libel. Throw a couple of million quid into a legal fund, hire a top QC and go for the throat.

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emptyend 8th Jul '14 491 of 495

In reply to shanklin100, post #489

It is usually translated as "Who will guard the guardians?". In this case, the guardians are both self-appointed and misguided - and are (almost) inexplicably indulged uncritically by the media, who simply do their publicity for them.

Their very existence is widely perceived as being "good" - and nobody bothers to "look under the hood" (as the Americans say).

Feel free to chip in here: https://yougov.co.uk/opi/browse/WWF

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WeeEck 8th Jul '14 492 of 495

I know from experience of trying to lobby journalists and politicians about another hobby horse of mine, Piscine Reovirus, (google it and you will never eat farmed salmon again) how difficult it is to get them to acknowledge there is a problem when the government has reached a mindset of supporting something. Like Anthropogenic Global Warming causing climate change, it makes money so lets support it. Media editors do not normally like to rock the boat.

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WeeEck 11th Jul '14 493 of 495

Even although you may not wish to support 'charities' like WWF and Friends of the Earth you actually do. Well the EU does it on your behalf with your money. Read the article below.

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emptyend 4th Oct '14 494 of 495

Those who are on libel watch will welcome this public apology from The Ecologist ....which seems pretty comprehensive!

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JoeRussell 7th Oct '14 495 of 495

Interesting article:-
See Entrust post on TMF

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