Ocean Guardian moves to drill Desire's Rachel prospect offshore Falklands

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Rockhopper Exploration (LON: RKH) has released the Ocean Guardian semisubmersible drilling rig after safely plugging and abandoning the Sea Lion 1 discovery well offshore the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. The rig will now move to drill the Rachel prospect for Desire Petroleum.

The first oil discovery offshore the Falkland Islands, Sea Lion was successfully reentered and tested.

"Health, Safety and Environment remain our absolute priority when operating, so I am very grateful to all personnel, both Rockhopper's and its contractors, for their commitment and delivery of safe operations during the drilling of Ernest and testing of Sea Lion," said Sam Moody, managing director of Rockhopper.

Now, the rig will move into position to drill the Rachel prospect on Tranche D in the North Falklands Basin. Rachel is the same play-type as the Sea Lion oil discovery.

Desire plans to keep the drilling rig for another two to three wells in the new exploration province. The Dawn/Jacinta prospect is likely the next well to be drilled.

With a number of prospects identified in the North Falkland Basin, Desire spud the Liz well on Tranche C in February 2010 and announced a wet and dry gas discovery in April.

The company just placed new ordinary shares to rase money to fund further 3D seismic on its Falkland acreage.

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