The AIM-quoted firm owns a 40% stake in Sea Lion and Premier Oil is aiming to reach project sanction before the end of 2018.
Premier Oil, in an update, revealed that commercial and financial work streams are underway for the Sea Lion field in the Falklands.
It also noted that the final draft of the field development plan for the project in November, and it is expected that a public consultation for the environmental impact statement is due to start shortly. Meanwhile, talks are underway with potential contractors for a range of services.
In its own statement, Rockhopper highlighted the commercial, fiscal and financing elements that will be required to secure the US$1.5bn of capex needed for Sea Lion to achieve first oil.
"We are pleased to be able to start 2018 by reporting on the material progress we have made alongside partner Premier in moving forward many aspects of the Sea Lion project in recent months,” said Sam Moody, Rockhopper chief executive.
“We are delighted to have entered into exclusive LOIs with a number of the key contractors to Sea Lion and are hopeful of entering more during the first quarter of 2018.
“This news, alongside good progress with FIG on the FDP discussions, and continued engagement with FIG and other stakeholders on the EIS, represents good progress in taking the steps required to sanction the Sea Lion development at the end of 2018.”
Moody also highlighted that the group’s Egyptian assets increase production by 15%, compared to the same period of last year - the Abu Sennan concession yielded 3,800 boepd - and the company expects a water flood programme will “have a significant positive long-term impact” on recovery from the oil field.
Rockhopper also noted that it ended the year with US$51mln.
On AIM, the share rose 1.47p or 5.9% to trade at 26.37p.