Rockhopper Exploration plc (Rockhopper) (AIM:RKH) is pleased to announce that it has appointed RPS Energy (RPS) to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) over licences PL023 and PL024. The EIA will be conducted in parallel with Desire Petroleum's EIA over licences PL006 and PL007, resulting in cost savings for both companies.
The EIA will prepare Rockhopper for the drilling of Prospect Ernest and also provide background work for any other drilling undertaken in licences PL023 and PL024. An additional EIA will be carried out over licences PL032 and PL033 following completion of the current 3D seismic processing and interpretation exercise to prepare for any drilling on that acreage. Completion of our 3D has brought us closer to drilling and a number of contractors have indicated increased availability of drilling units to us during 2008 which would be capable of drilling in our water depth and that of our partner, Desire. Sam Moody, Managing Director, commented: "We are very pleased to be working with RPS who have already successfully produced an EIA for Rockhopper and Desire in licences PL003 and PL004. We are getting strong indications of easing in the rig market in terms of availability, though not yet in price, with floating drilling units suitable for the Falklands due to become available during 2008. While prices remain relatively high, we do not believe they are prohibitive. With this in mind, undertaking an EIA at this stage will put us in a position to act quickly when an appropriate rig becomes available." NB: This statement has been approved by the Company's geological staff who include David Bodecott (Exploration Director), who is a Member of Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB) and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) with over 30 years of experience in petroleum exploration and management, for the purpose of the Guidance Note for Mining, Oil and Gas Companies issued by the London Stock Exchange in respect of AIM companies, which outline standards of disclosure for mineral projects.