THE imminent signing of a contract for a drilling campaign off the Falkland Islands was hailed last night as a sign of Aberdeen’s development as a future global energy hub.
City council Labour group leader Barney Crockett highlighted the development on the other side of the world at Labour’s Brighton conference, where the Falklands government has a stand.
Diamond Offshore Drilling, the world-leading Texas oil exploration company with its North Sea headquarters in Aberdeen, confirmed it is about to sign an agreement with Desire Petroleum.
This will see the drilling rig Ocean Guardian, currently at Invergordon for repair and upgrading work, undergo a two-month tow in December and January for a campaign of a minimum of four wells starting in February.
Desire declined to disclose the value of the contract but a source said the “enormous amount” being spent was an indication of the company’s belief in the potential of the Falklands Basin.
It is seeking further capital to drill additional wells.
Mr Crockett said the development, in waters also claimed by Argentina, depends on security support available from the UK Government.
He said: “This is a model for Aberdeen’s future development. We need it to become a world city servicing the world’s energy industries.
“Our offshore industry has a willingness to go to places where there are opportunities like this.”
The Falklands director of mineral resources, Phyl Rendell, said this was the second drilling campaign but it was “exploration” and no oil had been found yet.
Mr Crockett said there was the potential to create many jobs in the future. “This is an example of the way forward for the north-east. To work in the Falklands requires a particular type of person willing to go extra miles. We have these people.”