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Soco to Focus on ‘Larger’ Projects Following Drilling Review

Soco International Plc, a U.K. explorer in Africa and Southeast Asia, will review its drilling program to focus resources on larger prospects.

Soco directors are due to meet next week to examine seven new projects close to existing operations in Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Vietnam, according to Chief Financial Officer Roger Cagle. One drilling project may win approval to start next year, he said, while Soco may expand into three new countries.

“We are very keen on refreshing our exploration pipeline” and “bringing some projects forward,” Cagle said in an interview yesterday in London. “We’d like to bring larger projects.”

Soco previously planned to drill eight exploration wells next year in Vietnam, the Angolan enclave of Cabinda and the DRC. With partners, it plans to invest about $1 billion to increase production at Vietnam’s Te Giac Trang oil field. It expects to accumulate $1 billion in cash in 2015, with capital expenditure limited to about $100 million a year excluding future exploration success.

“Right now we have some near-term exploration drilling but it’s not as high impact as we would like it to be,” Cagle said.

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