Falklands Sea Lion oil production start seen in 2016

By OGJ editors

Rockhopper Exploration PLC said it will invest about $2 billion to start oil production from the North Falkland basin in early 2016.

The company said its Sea Lion discovery in PL032 could be producing 120,000 b/d by 2018. The company has conceived a development plan on the basis of producing a 350 million bbl resource using a leased floating production, storage, and offloading vessel.

Rockhopper expects to complete concept engineering studies in first-quarter 2012 and shortly thereafter to begin front-end engineering design. FEED is expected to be completed and submitted to the Falkland Islands government in first-quarter 2013, by which time the company would expect to have awarded the contracts to the FPSO provider and subsea contractor.

Accounting for all outstanding payments for well 14/10-6, the previous well drilled, the company estimates that it will have $170 million in cash. It reckons that it is therefore fully funded to complete 14/10-7, the current well, and the remaining two committed drilling slots that it has with the Ocean Guardian. It is considering its position as to whether it will take up any additional options with the rig.

The company said the 14/10-7 well, 3.3 km northwest of the 14/10-2 discovery well, was successful. Total depth is 2,696 m. The well derisked areas of lower amplitudes in the main complex, but further work is needed to determine the extent of the main complex SL20 lobe north of the well.

Rockhopper has a 100% interest in the PL023, PL024, PL032, and PL033 production licenses that total 3,800 sq km. It has also farmed into a 7.5% working interest in PL003 and PL004 operated by Desire Petroleum.

Testing of the Sea Lion discovery in September 2010 and June 2011 represented the first oil to flow to surface in Falkland Islands waters (OGJ Online, May 19, 2010).

Rockhopper hired two seismic vessels to shoot a 3D seismic survey over parts of PL024, PL032, and PL033 not previously defined by 3D and over adjacent areas. Data over the southern parts of PL032 and PL033 has been fast-track processed, and an initial interpretation has been completed. The rest of the new 3D data is expected to be available for interpretation by yearend.

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