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Premier Oil and Rockhopper hire Standard Chartered to assist Falklands oil field financing

Rockhopper Exploration revealed that the 'pathfinder' bank had been appointed as the partners seek the funds needed to bring the Sea Lion oil field towards a project sanction decision.
oil and gas operations
Sea Lion's development costs have previously been estimated at US$1.5bn

Premier Oil PLC (LON:PMO) and Rockhopper Exploration Plc (LON:PMO) have taken a small step closer to delivering the first oil field in the Falklands.

AIM-quoted Rockhopper, in a stock market statement, told investors that Standard Chartered Bank has been appointed as the ’pathfinder’ bank for a proposed senior debt project financing for the Phase 1 development of the Sea Lion field.

"We are delighted to announce the appointment of Standard Chartered as pathfinder bank,” said Sam Moody, Rockhopper chief executive.

READ: Rockhopper Exploration ready to rock and roll in the Falklands

“This appointment marks another step for the Sea Lion project as we work towards securing the necessary funding to allow project sanction.

“Standard Chartered is a leader in the field of Energy project financing and has played a significant role in a number of bank and export credit agency led financings in recent years.”

In May, Premier (which is Sea Lion’s operator, with a 60% stake in the project) highlighted that it was close to selecting the main contractor for the development and that negotiations for some US$400mln of ‘vendor financing’ were near completion.

That would be just one element in the project financing mix and, at that time, Premier said it expected to name the ‘pathfinder’ bank “shortly”.

Sea Lion’s total development costs have previously been estimated at around US$1.5bn.

Egypt update

Alongside the Falklands financing update, Rockhopper also gave investors a rundown of operational progress being made with its assets in Egypt.

It said that the latest development for the Al Jahraa field  (which will be Al Jahraa-6) is expected to spud this week.

Al Jahraa-6 will be positioned to produce from the AR-C reservoir, at the crest of the structure, and it will also have a deeper exploration target – a reservoir that is producing in adjacent fields.

The well is expected to take 60 days to drill, and it will be followed by another new development well, Al Jahraa-10.

Rockhopper noted that a water injection programme in Al Jahraa is progressing to schedule, with the injection phase expected to begin by mid-July.

Elsewhere in Egypt, the Raya-1X well reached its target depth on June 30. It confirmed the presence of good porosity sands, although no hydrocarbons were found and the well was subsequently plugged and abandoned.

Raya-1X was the commitment exploration well for the El Qa'a Plain concession.

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