UK-based Rockhopper Exploration has made an oil discovery at its offshore exploration well 14/20-2, Isobel 2 Re-drill in north Falklands.

The re-drill has also discovered new hydrocarbons in additional sandstones.

The well is located on licence PL004a, which the company has a 24% working interest that is set to increase to 64% once the merger with Falkland Oil & Gas completes.

Premier Oil holds the remaining 36% of the oilfield licence.

"This is extremely encouraging for the prospectivity of the area with a proven petroleum system and a number of prospects established."

The Isobel Deep well reached a total depth of 3,014m below sea level.

Rockhopper Exploration CEO Samuel Moody said: "Proving oil this far down dip in the Isobel Deep reservoir, in addition to confirming oil bearing sands at a location so close to the edge of the various other fan bodies, is an outstanding result and hugely increases the likelihood that the Isobel / Elaine complex can become a third phase of development in the North Falkland Basin.

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"The success is of course even more pleasing following the announced merger with Falkland Oil & Gas, which will shortly complete seeing our interest in the licence significantly increase to 64%."

Rockhopper announced that the well 14/20-2 encountered a total of five oil bearing fan packages of the F3 system. A net pay of 27m was recorded within the Isobel Deep, Isobel and Emily reservoirs.

The results indicate that the total oil column established by the well is expected to be more than 480m.

Before moving the rig to the to the Chatham well location, Rockhopper will plug and abandon the well as planned.

Premier Oil exploration director Robin Allan said: "This successful re-drill of the Isobel Deep oil sand along with the additional discovery of new oil-bearing sandstones, is extremely encouraging for the prospectivity of the area with a proven petroleum system and a number of prospects established."