SOCO, the international oil and gas exploration and production company, has announced that its its production in the first four months of the year has been 60 per cent higher than in the same period the previous year.
The group also said it is now debt-free and had net cash and liquid investments of around $328.5m.
In terms of operations, the first phase of production handling capacity testing of the Te Giac Trang (TGT) floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) was completed with sustained production of over 60,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).
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One rig has been secured to continue the offshore Vietnam TGT field appraisal, which is expected to commence before the end of June 2013, while a second has been secured to accelerate drilling of the Lideka East well offshore the Republic of Congo, now expected to spud before the end of June 2013.
In a statement SOCO said: "The company's Vietnam project means the company is highly cash generative, and would remain so even at oil prices substantially lower than the current levels.
"Although exploration will continue to be an important component of the company's business plan, and exploration drilling has been accelerated for this year in the Republic of Congo, a capital return to shareholders is a priority and will come to fruition in the second half of this year.
"The directors intention is for this to be a sustainable capital return programme that will distribute excess cash to shareholders on an annual basis."
The share price fell 3.36% to 403.50p by 09:55 Thursday.
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