North Falkland Basin oil and gas company Desire Petroleum said yesterday that drilling had begun on the Dawn/Jacinta well.
Desire said the well had targets at two levels.
The Jacinta prospect has a target depth of around 3,280ft, while the deeper Dawn prospect has a target depth of about 4,429ft.
The total depth of the well is planned to be around 5,478ft and is expected to take 30 days to complete.
Desire added that, after this well, it is planned Rockhopper Exploration will take the Ocean Guardian rig for one or two slots before the rig returns to Desire to drill a well at a location still to be decided.
Desire also said the vessel Polarcus Nadia had started operations on the new 3D seismic programme in the North Falkland Basin in a joint survey with Rockhopper.
Operations are expected to be complete by the end of April.
The Desire part of the programme will result in full 3D seismic coverage over the prospective east flank play fairway on Desire acreage.
Desire estimates only about 40% of this play is covered by 3D data within the Desire-operated licences.
Rockhopper, which is also focused on the North Falkland Basin, said in a separate announcement yesterday that it had agreed to take up two optional drilling slots for the Ocean Guardian drilling rig.
The company is also in discussions to take up further well slots on the rig.
Rockhopper’s next anticipated well is expected to start in January and will be an exploration well about five miles from the Sea Lion discovery well.
The well will target deeper sands, which the company has mapped following the Sea Lion oil discovery earlier this year.
The second well is planned as an appraisal well in the proposed Sea Lion discovery area.
Rockhopper chief executive Sam Moody said: “We are delighted to have secured the use of the Ocean Guardian for a further two wells and are in discussions to secure further drilling slots.
“We expect to undertake a significant drilling programme during 2011, including a number of appraisal and exploration wells designed to refine our understanding of our northern licences.”