Falkland oil find could hold more than 400 MMbbl recoverable

Aug. 15, 2011
The potential of Rockhopper Exploration’s Sea Lion oil discovery in the North Falkland basin continues to grow, according to latest seismic analysis.

Offshore staff

SALISBURY, UK – The potential of Rockhopper Exploration’s Sea Lion oil discovery in the North Falkland basin continues to grow, according to latest seismic analysis.

Initial interpretation of fasttrack new seismic data in licenses PL032 and PL033 reveals the Sea Lion Main Complex (SLMC) extending to the south, and to over 90 sq km (34.7 sq mi) in the new high-case area.

Rockhopper now interprets the SLMC’s in-place reserves potential at:
Low Case: 608 MMbbl
Mid Case: 1,086 MMbbl
High Case: 1,279 MMbbl

All volumes lie within the company’s 100%-owned acreage. Further volumes, amounting to an additional 10%, could reside in Desire Petroleum’s license PL004, in which Rockhopper has a non-operated 7.5% interest.

Earlier this year the company acquired more than 4,000 sq km (1,544 sq mi) of new 3D seismic data in a program co-managed with other operators in the area.

The fasttrack processed data over the southern portion of licenses PL032 and PL033 - combined with data from Sea Lion wells 14/10-2, 14/10-3, 14/10-4, 14/10-5 and 14/10-6 - indicate that the SLMC comprises two fan lobes sourced from the same main feeder channel, just east of 14/10-5 and 14/10-2.

These two lobes, represented as sand packages within the wells, are identified as the SL20 and SL10 units. Formation pressure data acquired in the wells suggest they are in pressure communication.

The two are interpreted as comprising mass-flow turbidite sand sequences prograding from the sand input point to the east and extending beyond the southern boundary of license PL032 into licence PL004.

Rockhopper believes recovery rates of 30-40% are achievable on Sea Lion using standard production techniques such as water injection, artificial lift, deviated or horizontal wells, and /or other enhanced oil recovery techniques.

A recovery factor of 30%, based on the company’s mid-case area, would mean around 325 MMbbl of recoverable oil. If a recovery factor of 40% is achieved, the total recoverable would rise to 434 MMbbl.

The fasttrack seismic interpretation also has led to identification of two new feeders into the basin and mapping of two new prospects, Casper and Kermit.

Both of these prospects comprise similar fan systems fed from eastern basin margin feeder channels and exhibit similar seismic character to the SLMC. Casper is stratigraphically shallower than the SLMC while Kermit is stratigraphically deeper.

Following the results of current appraisal well 14/10-6, Rockhopper believes that the B15 sand, which forms part of the lower fan complex, has the potential to contain up to 161 MMbbl in place on a high case basis. Formation pressure testing indicates that B15 is also in communication with the SLMC.

After 14/10-6, the company has committed to drill three further wells using the semisubmersible Ocean Guardian, but it is discussing the possibility of drilling additional wells under an assignment agreement.

The next well is likely to be 3.3 km (2 mi) northwest of the 14/10-2 discovery well. The second well could be drilled 4.1 km (2.5 mi) south-southeast of 14/10-2, and the third around 5.5 km (3.4 mi) southwest of 14/10-2.

However, these locations are subject to change depending upon drilling results, technical studies, and relevant regulatory approvals.