British oil and gas company Harbour Energy said on September 23 that it was considering exercising an option to exit the Falkland Islands project and would leave the Falklands.
According to a statement from Harbour Energy, the Falklands project does have significant resource potential. However, further development of the project is not considered a strategic fit for the company. It is estimated that the Sea Lion project contains resources of over 500 million barrels.
Harbour Energy also announced it will exit its exploration license interests in the Ceará Basin in Brazil and the Burgos Basin in Mexico.
The exit was made in order to invest in lower-risk regions where the company already has a presence, it added.
The Sea Lion oil field was discovered in 2010 by Rockhopper, an international oil and gas exploration company based in the UK. However, the start of project development has been delayed several times.
The company added: “Rockhopper will now work with Harbour Energy and the Falkland Islands Government to ensure an orderly exit of Harbour Energy from the Falkland Islands.”
Sam Moody, CEO of Rockhopper, added: “This is both a difficult moment for Rockhopper and a great opportunity. While we are disappointed that Harbour Energy has decided not to pursue the Falklands project, we remain committed to advancing its development.”
The Falkland Islands government agreed earlier this year to extend the terms of several offshore oil and gas licences, including those containing the Sea Lion field.
After investing hundreds of millions of dollars and numerous political squabbles, the Falklands project has still not brought any oil to market.
Argentina has previously asked stock exchanges in New York and London to warn investors with claims that UK-listed oil companies are operating illegally off the Falkland Islands.
Once the British Foreign Office condemned Argentine attempts to “destroy the economy of the Falkland Islands” after a judge ordered the seizure of assets from five companies drilling for oil off the islands.
Argentina’s territorial claim led to an invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982, and the ensuing war killed more than 900 people.
Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal
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