Rockhopper's Sea Lion oil appraisal exceeds expectations offshore the Falklands

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Independent oil and gas firm Rockhopper Exploration (LON:RKH) has completed the 14/10-6 appraisal well in the Sea Lion oil field offshore the Falkland Islands in South America. Positive results from the well have lead the company's board to declare Sea Lion commercially viable.

The third appraisal well into the Sea Lion formation, this well was drilled 4.1 kilometers west of the 14/10-2 discovery well on PL032. The Ocean Guardian semisubmersible drilled the appraisal well to a total depth of 2,706 meters, proving a thick, high-quality reservoir package and substantial oil column.

"The results of this well are at the upper end of expectations for the Sea Lion main fan complex, and we are delighted to see these oil charged sands extending to the west as prognosed," said Sam Moody, chief executive of Rockhopper. "The thickness and quality of reservoir encountered in the lower fan complex gives additional potential updip."

The appraisal well results are on the upper end of expectations, confirming significant reservoir development and hydrocarbon charge within the company's currently interpreted Sea Lion mid-case area.

Wireline logs of the appraisal indicate the main fan of the Sea Lion formation to measure 36.4 meters (119 feet). Reservoir quality is good with average porosity of 21.6 percent and maximum porosity of 28.8 percent. Additionally, formation pressure tests indicate that the reservoir at the well is in communication with previous wells drilled into the formation (14/10-2, 14/10-4 and 14/10-5).

The well also transected a lower sand package measuring 34 meters (112 feet) with good-quality reservoir and 20 percent average porosity. The formation pressure tests indicate that the B15 sand is in pressure communication with the Sea Lion main fan complex, giving significant updip exploration potential.

Rockhopper is not going to perform a full production test on the appraisal well, opting to plug and abandon it.

According to a report from Offshore, Rockhopper is considering a floating production solution for the pioneering oil development.

Following the completion of the Sea Lion appraisal well, the Ocean Guardian will move to another prospect in the North Falkland Basin. Located 3.3 kilometers northwest of the Sea Lion discovery well, the new exploration well will look for the presence of reservoir and hydrocarbon charge toward the northernmost currently mapped extent of the Sea Lion main fan.

The first oil discovery offshore the Falkland Islands in May 2010, the Sea Lion discovery was successfully tested during September 2010 and June 2011 and was the first oil to flow to surface in Falkland Islands waters.

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