Under the terms of the deal, Soco will have 70% operating stake in the two blocks located in moderate to deep water in the Phu Khanh Basin, offshore central Vietnam, to the north of the Cuu Long Basin.

Soco president and CEO Ed Story said: “Soco began its serious evaluation of the exploration potential of Blocks 125 & 126 in the Phu Khanh Basin in 2010, following an interest that preceded that time by many years.

“We are delighted that our tenacity has successfully delivered two new blocks; along with partnership with one of Vietnam’s preeminent conglomerates, SOVICO Holdings.”

As per the available seismic data, the Blocks 125 & 126 have multiple structural and stratigraphic plays.

Soco said that a memorandum of understanding was signed in 2015 by the partners while the final PSC was approved by the Vietnamese Government and Prime Minister in August this year.

Soco noted that its capital expenditure for 2017 includes acquisition of existing seismic data. Initial exploration activities comprise reprocessing and interpretation of seismic data.

The firm invested over $1bn into its oil and gas projects located offshore southern Vietnam since almost two decades.

The company’s also has 28.5% stake in Te Giac Trang field of Block 16-1 and 25% interest in the Ca Ngu Vang field of Block 9-2, both offshore Vietnam.