Another oil firm to invest in the Falklands

12 Jul

Premier Oil has announced that it is to acquire a stake in an oil development project in the Falkland Islands as part of a $1 billion deal with explorer Rockhopper. Premier said on Thursday it would pay Rockhopper an initial $231 million in cash as well as  providing around $770 million to help build the infrastructure to get oil pumping from the explorer’s Sea Lion discovery. ” The Sea Lion project offers attractive returns and fits well with Premier’s proven operating and development skills,” Premier’s Chief Executive Simon Lockett said in a statement. The companies said that Premier would acquire a 60 percent stake in the license, with Rockhopper retaining the remaining 40 percent.

Argentina has been threatening to take legal action against any company that involves itself in the current round of oil exploration taking place around the Falkland Islands, although this threat seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as Premier is the second large company to buy a stake in the last few weeks.

The Falkland Islands Government is responsible for issuing licences within its territory and is looking means by which the development of recent finds can be progressed. Partnerships with large, international, companies is obviously one way forward.

Argentina has been disputing the ownership of East Falkland since 1833, while Britain has claimed the whole of the archipelago since 1765. Spain gave up its claim to East Falkland in 1863. Britain has indisputably controlled the islands since 1833 without any serious challenge except for a few weeks in 1982 when Argentina tried to take the Falklands by force, and failed. Since 1982 Britain has vigorously supported the islanders in their development of the territory and a referendum is planned for 2013 in which the Falklanders’ will decide whether they wish to remain with Britain, join Argentina or opt for full independence.

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