BHP BILLITON and Falkland Oil and Gas (FOGL) representatives will visit the Falklands in January to establish contact with FIG and businesses that will be involved in exploration drilling.
Director of Minerals Phyl Rendell told the Mineral Resources Committee last week that FOGL Chief Executive Tim Bushell will be with the group and it is anticipated that the team will be available to host a public meeting. She said it would be a busy week beginning January 21 and added: "I hope there will be a pleasing outcome by the end of the year for everyone." Giving an update on her department's activities, Mrs Rendell said Desire Petroleum had completed a site survey programme. The company now had environmental and health and safety data for their northern licences as well as site survey data over their southern licences in the north. "An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is being compiled for the southern prospects in readiness for seeking approval to drill," she said. Rockhopper ExplorationRockhopper has used the vessel Bergen Surveyorto carry out a site survey over the prospects Ernest and Weddell and has been working in conjunction with Desire Petroleum to produce an EIA for their licensed acreage adjacent to Desire's blocks. "It's good to see the maximum use of the Wavefield Inseis vessel while it is in the area," commented Mrs Rendell. Meanwhile the company is on track with interpretation of the 3D seismic data acquired in their northern licence where Shell drilled two wells in 1998. Borders & Southern PetroleumThe Minerals Director said that, working for Borders and Southern, Ocean Explorer had made two port calls for crew changes while support vessel Amber G, had been playing a useful role in ferrying equipment and personnel to the Ocean Explorerat the survey site in the South Falkland Basin. The marine mammal observer on Ocean Explorerhad reported a considerable number of whale sightings, Mrs Rendell told the committee, including Fin, Sei and on one occasion a Blue Whale. Calcified seaweedModel legislative clauses are to be drafted to allow for the extraction of calcified seaweed, stone, gravel, flint, sand and chalk, along with recommended guidelines. Mrs Rendell said this had come about because of a technicality in the legislation which was discovered when a licence was being drafted for an individual who had applied to extract calcified seaweed for pasture improvement purposes. She explained: "It was found that before the Governor can award a licence, either model clauses related to extraction of minerals need to be drafted and approved by the Secretary of State or the Ordinance needs to be amended, again with the Secretary of State's approval, to remove the need for model clauses." Mrs Rendell said she recommended the drafting of the model, which was approved by committee members, as the most expedient way to proceed. Penguin News