Rockhopper stock rises on oil discovery

ROCKHOPPER told the market yesterday it had struck oil off the Falklands Islands.

It is the first oil discovery in the North Falkland basin and sent shares of the Aim-listed British explorer rocketing 150 per cent to 93.5p.

The firm said it found oil along intervals across 53 metres, which was 25 metres deep at its thickest. Rockhopper is waiting on the results of an appraisal before it can announce the quality of the oil and how much was found, a spokesman added.

Analysts said the well could produce a couple of hundred million barrels, which is roughly the same size as a large North Sea oil well.

Managing director Sam Moody said: “We are extremely excited by the results of this well. While we are presently acquiring additional data, current indications are that we have made the first oil discovery in the North Falkland basin.”

Shares in Desire Petroleum, another North Falklands-focused explorer with prospects nearby to Rockhopper, also made heavy gains on the London Stock Exchange. Two other Falkland oil explorers, Falkland Oil & Gas and Borders & Southern, also saw their share prices rise.

Oil exploration in the islands off the coast of South America has sparked protests from Argentina, which claims ownership of the British territory. Earlier this year the Argentine President, Cristina Kirchner, issued a decree obliging ships using Argentinian ports to seek a permit if they enter or leave the British-controlled waters.

● The company was admitted to Aim in 2005 and has since completed an extensive work programme in the North Falkland basin.

● Rockhopper raised £50m via an equity placing in 2009 to fund drilling.