London-listed independent Soco says it is on track to hike output from the El Fayoum concession south of Cairo to 6,500 b/d by end-2019. Soco, whose previous focus was Vietnam, acquired El Fayoum in April (MEES, 5 April). Output actually fell from 5,692 b/d in Q1 to average 5,262 b/d for Soco’s first quarter in charge. Soco blames “underinvestment… in previous years” for a sustained slump from 7,900 b/d for 2017. It sees a “clear near-term opportunity to reverse the decline and then steadily improve the production level,” targeting 15,000 b/d by 2023.

On 16 July Soco added a second drilling rig and plans Egypt capex of $28mn this year, well over half the $50mn corporate total. The firm bagged a second Egypt block, North Beni Suef, immediately to the south of El Fayoum earlier this year (MEES, 15 February). It then expanded further in the region, snagging eight small Israel offshore blocks with compatriot Cairn (33.34%op; Soco 33.33%, Israel’s Ratio 33.33%) in recent bidding (MEES, 2 August). An initial 3-year exploration period commits the firms only to reprocess existing seismic. (CONTINUED - 175 WORDS)