The Falkland Islands government has granted a one year extension for Rockhopper Exploration’s production licences PL023 and PL024. The licences, in which Rockhopper has a 40% interest, have been extended until November 2013, with no requirement for the operator to perform further work on the licences in that time.
Rockhopper's Chief Executive Sam Moody says the extension of the licences would provide “a further opportunity to evaluate the largely unexplored potential of the assets while the firm continues to work with Premier Oil to advance the Sea Lion project located elsewhere in the basin”.
Rockhopper also noted that production licences PL003 and PL004 were also recently extended, until May 2016, with a one well work commitment during that period. The company’s release points out that it holds a 3% interest in licences PL003 and PL004a, a 10% in PL004c and 24% interest in PL004b which contains the extension of the Sea Lion Field as well as the Beverley, Casper and Casper South discoveries.
Rockhopper drilled an exploration well on Sea Lion during April and May 2010, the result of which was the first oil discovery and Contingent Resource in the North Falkland Basin. The Sea Lion discovery was successfully tested during September 2010 and June 2011 and was the first oil to flow to surface in Falkland Islands waters. Rockhopper's drilling campaign lasted from 16 April 2010 to 8 January 2012 and resulted in seven successful wells of the ten drilled, with three oil discoveries, three gas discoveries, multiple successful Sea Lion appraisal wells and a successful appraisal well on Casper.
In October 2012 Rockhopper completed a farm-out agreement with Premier Oil plc, whereby Premier Oil acquired 60% of Rockhopper's interests in its North Falkland Basin licences, with a view to achieving first oil production from Sea Lion in 2017