Noble Energy Inc. (NBL:US), a U.S. oil and gas producer, agreed to buy stakes in licenses from Falkland Oil & Gas Ltd. off the disputed islands.
Noble will take a 35 percent in Falkland Oil’s Northern Area licenses, except for Loligo and Nimrod-Garrodia, and will become operator in 2013, London-based Falkland Oil said in a statement. In the Southern Area licenses, Noble will receive a 35 percent interest and become operator by early 2014.
Noble is the second company Falkland Oil has found this year to share the costs and risks of drilling off the archipelago Margaret Thatcher went to war to keep British in 1982. Noble’s investment in the next three years is estimated to be as much as $230 million, Falkland Oil said. Shares of Falkland Oil jumped the most since April in London trading.
“We have now brought in two highly respected international exploration and production companies,” Falkland Oil Chief Executive Officer Tim Bushell said in the statement. “With this strong partnership in place, we have the financial and technical resources to help realize the potential from our large acreage position in the Falkland Islands.”
Falkland Oil started drilling in the Loligo prospect on Aug. 3, it said in a separate statement today. The operation will take about 60 days, it said.
Edison International (EIX:US) SpA, a unit of French state-controlled power company Electricite de France SA, bought a 25 percent interest in the northern licenses and a 12.5 percent stake in the southern licenses in June. On July 12, Premier Oil Plc (PMO), a U.K. explorer with fields in the North Sea and Southeast Asia, said it will buy 60 percent of Rockhopper Exploration Plc (RKH)’s assets. Rockhopper was the first to make a commercial discovery in the region.
Borders & Southern Petroleum Plc (BOR) in April announced a discovery of gas condensate in its Darwin prospect, close to Falkland Oil’s fields. Borders also said on July 16 it found gas in its Stebbing prospect, though not in commercial quantities and it was unable to drill to its target depth because of pressure conditions.
Falkland Oil surged 15 percent to 86 pence in London.
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