Soco doubles estimate of Vietnam well to 200 million barrels

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Soco International Plc (SIA), a U.K. explorer focused on Africa and Asia, said a well off Vietnam holds as much as 200 million barrels of oil and gas, double its best previous estimate. The shares rose.

The TGT-10XST1 well on the H5 block of the Te Giac Trang, or TGT, field produced more than 27,600 barrels of oil equivalent a day, the company said today in a statement. Soco completed tests at three zones in the well.

The test increased the well resource estimate to 150 million to 200 million barrels, up from the previous guidance of 50 million to 100 million barrels. "It's the biggest well I've ever been associated with in 37 years or so," Chief Financial Officer Roger Cagle said in a phone interview.

Soco shares advanced 4.4 percent to 415.60 pence in London in the biggest gain since July 22. It was the best performer on the FTSE 350 Oil & Gas Producers Index, which fell 0.3 percent.

The company, based in London, plans to conduct tests at its TGT floating production, storage and offloading vessel for higher capacity to accommodate increased output from the field and volumes from Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM)'s nearby deposit. The latest well and the "imminent gas sale" contract will boost the total TGT field resource estimate to more than 1.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent, Cagle said.

"This is another excellent result at the TGT field and confirms its status as a world-class asset," VSA Capital Ltd. analyst Dougie Youngson wrote in a report. Soco has "potential as a takeover target."

Cagle declined to comment on any possible bids.

"You'd think that people who are interested in production assets would be more interested now than they have been before," the CFO said. "There has been plenty of interest."

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