SOCO Respects OECD Guidelines and Expects National Contact Point Initial Assessment

LONDON, February 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

SOCO International plc is expecting the imminent publication of the Initial Assessment of the case under consideration by the OECD for potential breach of the voluntary Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises brought by WWF. SOCO has been advised that, with the exception of fundamental errors within the complaint, it is usual for the NCP to set aside certain elements of a complaint for further examination.

The NCP has made it clear to both SOCO and WWF that "further examination" does not mean that the NCP considers SOCO has acted inconsistently with the Guidelines or that the NCP has reached any negative conclusion about the Company's activities in the Virunga National Park located in the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC").

SOCO is aware of WWF's recent approach to the Company's shareholders, inaccurately claiming that an official enquiry will be launched into SOCO.  SOCO respectfully draws attention to the process described on the NCP website that the next step of "further examination" is for the NCP to facilitate a mediation process between SOCO and WWF.

SOCO looks forward to positively engaging in mediation on any issues set aside with the aim of reaching an agreement with WWF.  Although WWF has not accepted SOCO's prior invitation to discuss together how conservation and development may be mutually compatible, SOCO hopes the NCP's formal mediation framework will be successful.

SOCO recognises that WWF is a campaigning organisation, but hopes that they will still respect the process and allow the NCP to facilitate the mediation outside the media spotlight in this instance.

SOCO understands the seriousness of the complaint and still denies any alleged breaches of the voluntary guidelines and would like to make it clear that its operations abide by all the laws and regulations set out by the Government of the DRC.

For SOCO's part we have invested considerable resources in community consultation and initial environmental and social impact assessments, all prior to a technical survey of Lake Edward.  No drilling has been planned or is warranted at this stage.

Notes to editors:

  1. OECD is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  2. SOCO is an international oil and gas exploration and Production Company, headquartered in London, traded on the London Stock Exchange and a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. The Company has interests in Vietnam, the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) and Angola.
  3. NCP is the UK National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The NCP's procedures for dealing with complaints can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-national-contact-point-procedures-for-complaints-brought-under-the-oecd-guidelines-for-multinational-enterprises
  4. The Initial Assessment will be issued by the UK National Contact Point as part of the UK Government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills who we have been liaising and fully co-operating with over this case.
  5. For a full review of SOCO's policies and further information please visit http://www.socointernational.com.


SOURCE SOCO International




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