Harbour Energy is facing sanctions from Argentina over an oil and gas project in contested waters off the Falklands.
A few dots near the bottom corner of the world map in the southern Atlantic, the Falkland Islands were once at the forefront of a new era for the oil industry as companies scoured the planet for resources.
Rockhopper Exploration said today that the Sea Lion phase 1 project in the North Falkland Basin was moving towards sanction at the end of 2018.
Britain and Argentina have agreed to work together to remove restrictions on shipping, fishing and the oil and gas industry affecting the Falklands, the Foreign Office has said.
The government of the Falkland Islands is concerned about a decision by a United Nations commission to expand Argentina’s maritime territory.
Rockhopper Exploration has spudded its latest well in the Falklands region as it looks to increase the volume of proven oil.
Ocean Rig said two rigs from its fleet will be coming out of employment soon with no immediate job opportunities on the horizon. The company said the semi-submersible Eirik Raude will finish up in the Falkland Islands in January while semi-submersible Levi Eiriksson will have completed work in Norway by March 2016. Ocean Rig said the current intention is for both to be cold stacked while disposing of or scrapping the rig is put under consideration.
Argentina’s ambassador to the UK has reportedly described new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as “one of ours” and claimed he could “decisively guide“ British public opinion towards “dialogue” over the Falkland Islands. Alicia Castro said that she felt “joy, a great satisfaction” that Mr Corbyn - who she first met in 2002 - had been chosen as leader of the opposition. And she claimed that the Islington North MP’s victory was “without doubt” a sign of a “change of winds” in the UK over the Falklands.
Premier Oil said a further oil discovery has been made in the Isobel deep exploration well in waters off the coast of the Falklands. The find is believed to have similar properties to the discovery which was made at the Sea Lion project. Premier exploration director Andrew Lodge said:"This is an important play opening discovery in the previously unexplored southern area of Licence PL004.
Premier Oil said it has encountered oil shows in an exploration well in the Isobel Deep prospect. The company, which resumed drilling from the Falkland prospect after it was temporarily shutdown, said a zone of elevated formation pressure was penetrated and oil shows were encountered. An additional casing string before drilling ahead through the main reservoir will now be run.
Premier Oil has suspended drilling of the Isobel Deep wildcat off the Falkland Islands due to a problem detected with the BOP (Blowout Preventer). The company's partner Falkland Oil & Gas said following the successful setting of the casing at a depth of 1273.9metres, a problem had been detected, with the well being temporarily suspended. The BOP has been brought to surface for inspection and repairs.
A number of oil explorers drilling in the Falkland Islands have axed plans to drill a second well in the south and east of the country following the oil price decline. Noble Energy, Falkland Oil and Gas (FOGL) and Edison International have said they will continue drilling in other parts of the region. The move is in line with a number of companies who have scaled back costs following the drop in oil price within the last nine months.
The UK and Argentina summoned each others’ ambassadors as Britain stepped up its defenses of the Falkland Islands and the South American nation filed criminal charges against oil companies operating in the area. The Argentine Foreign Ministry said it called in the UK ambassador to explain the defense spending and revelations by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the UK had spied on the Argentine government since 2009. Argentine ambassador Alicia Castro was questioned by the UK after President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said the islands will be Argentine sooner or later, the Telegraph reported, citing a Foreign Office spokesman it didn’t identify. The Argentine government “expressed its discomfort” at recent comments by UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon in which he alleged “a supposed and improbable Argentine ‘threat,’” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday.
Following its success with the Zebedee target, the rig Eirik Raude is today moving a short distance to start the second well of the latest Falkland Islands exploration campaign. The next target of the current four targets exploration campaign is Isobel Deep, later followed by Jayne East and finally Chatham. For the first three of these wells, operator Premier Oil (36%) and Rockhopper, (24%), is joined by Falkland Oil and Gas, which holds 40% as a result of its 2013 takeover of Desire Petroleum. Isobel Deep sits in an untested area around 40km to the south of Sea Lion, and the prospect could unlock the greatest potential of the wells in the rig’s North Falklands Basin ng schedule.
The Foreign Office has dismissed an alleged threat to prosecute oil firms drilling near the Falklands. Last week Premier Oil said it had made an oil discovery at the Zebedee well in the region. Drilling for oil and gas in the resource-rich Falklands area by London-listed companies remains controversial as a decades-long row between the UK and Argentina over the sovereignty of the islands has not been resolved.