Rockhopper ups estimates for Falklands oil reserves

ROCKHOPPER Exploration, the South Atlantic oil and gas explorer, said yesterday it had increased its estimates of recoverable reserves in two licences in the North Falklands Basin from 1.2billion to 1.8billion barrels of oil.

It also said its overall potential had been increased to 4.3billion barrels of recoverable oil plus trillions of cubic feet of gas.

Executive chairman Pierre Jungels said: “We now have in our portfolio prospects which, subject to rig availability, financing and all relevant consents, are ready to drill. We have met a number of companies as part of our ongoing farm-out programme and we continue to keep all options open with regard to funding our drilling commitments.

“We are currently in discussion with a number of rig contractors on securing a suitable drilling vessel and from these discussions have noted an easing in both rates and availability of drilling units in recent months.”

The company also said falling commodity prices did not necessarily affect its fundamental business case, because previous work indicated that a discovery on Rockhopper acreage could be economic at an oil price as low as $25 per barrel. It added that a period of lower oil prices would be likely to feed through into lower service costs, leading to lower rig rates and enhanced availability.

Rockhopper, which has no production so far, reported pre-tax losses of £739,375 yesterday for the six months to September 30 compared with a £453,125 deficit 12 months earlier.