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Rockhopper gets two slots in Falklands drilling campaign with Desire Petroleum

Desire Petroleum (AIM: DES) said that two drilling slots using the Ocean Guardian drilling rig have been assigned to Rockhopper Exploration (AIM: RKH) for the upcoming exploration programme in the Falkland Islands.

This assignment is pursuant to a rig contract between Desire Petroleum and Diamond Offshore Drilling Ltd and an assignment document between Desire, Diamond and Rockhopper signed in November.

The first well of the campaign on the Liz prospect, which is located in Desire’s Tranche C acreage, is expected to be spudded in mid February 2010. Rockhopper holds a 7.5% interest in Liz, while Desire hods 92.5% as operator. Following the completion of the Liz well, the Ocean Guardian will be allocated to Rockhopper to drill its Sea Lion and Ernest prospects.

Desire’s second well could be the fourth or fifth in the sequence of the programme if BHP Billiton (LSE: BLT) takes up an early drilling slot, with discussions currently ongoing.

The order of later Desire wells will depend upon the results of the Liz, Sea Lion and Ernest wells.

Back in September, Rockhopper announced that it hopes to drill a minimum of two wells on its 100% owned and operated acreage as part of a larger campaign with Desire Petroleum. In an article in the Financial Times it was reported that both Rockhopper and Desire Petroleum would need to raise a combined £100m to fund the proposed drilling programme.

Disclosure: The author holds no positions in the company