Falkland Islands oil and gas producer Rockhopper Exploration Plc has announced that its net contingent oil reserves have doubled to more than 300 million barrels, and independent experts are now eyeing this as nearly billion-barrel basin.
Rockhopper owns more than 50% of two oilfields, Sea Lion and Isobel Elaine, which are now estimated to hold 747 million barrels of oil and gas reserves, according to the independent audit that was prepared by ERCE.
Rockhopper has a 24% in the wells, but this will rise to 64% once it completes its merger with Falkland Oil & Gas. Last November, Rockhopper agreed to buy Falkland Oil & Gas in an all-share deal that values the explorer at US$87 million.
Rockhopper claimed that the audit confirmed that there are over half a billion barrels of oil resources in the reservoirs that together make up the Sea Lion Complex including the reservoirs discovered in the Zebedee well.
The company said that data collection for the Isobel/Elaine Complex had been compromised for operational reasons, but that the auditors had produced figures that Rockhopper has used to produce its own estimates.
Rockhopper’s Chief Executive, Sam Moody, said that the new audit confirms the potential of the North Falklands to be a billion barrel basin.
”The Sea Lion Complex itself holds over half a billion barrels with almost 270 million barrels of low risk near field upside which we believe could be assessed with as few as 3 or 4 more optimally targeted wells. In addition, the Isobel/Elaine discovery has the potential to be a third regional development potentially containing over 500 million barrels. Combining the well‐appraised Sea Lion field, the low risk near field upside and the Isobel / Elaine appraisal area, a billion barrels of recoverable oil is within reach within the basin thanks to the outstanding track record of our sub surface team”.
Rockhopper’s takeover of Falkland Oil & Gas was announced within a day of pro-oil Mauricio Macri’s presidential election victory in Argentina, and he has indicated he would adopt a milder attitude with the UK over the Falklands.
His predecessor, former president Cristina Fernandez, had used the Falklands as a campaign tool and had threatened to seize US$156 million in property and bank holdings of oil companies drilling on the islands. Among the targets were Rockhopper and Falkland Oil & Gas.
Foreign Ministry officials in Buenos Aires have said the British energy companies would face prosecution for what they called illegal operations in Argentine territory.