UK-based Premier Oil has selected SBM Offshore to carry out front-end engineering and design (FEED) work for the first phase of the Sea Lion field development project off the Falkland Islands.

Under the 18-month contract, SBM Offshore will perform the work for a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit during this phase.

The converted FPSO will have a throughput capacity of around 85,000 barrels per day and will operate in water depths of 450m.

"The converted FPSO will have a throughput capacity of around 85,000 barrels per day."

Premier Oil operates the proposed phase 1 Sea Lion project along with Rockhopper Exploration as the joint venture partner.

The project is located 220km north of the Falkland Islands. First phase is subject to final investment decision that is targeted for the end of the FEED in the second half of 2017.

Premier Oil expects to carry out development of Sea Lion and the North Falkland Basin reserves using FPSOs in various phases.

The company acquired 60% of Rockhopper’s licence interests in the North Falklands Basin, including the Sea Lion discovery in July 2012.

After concluding the transaction in October 2012, Premier Oil assumed operatorship of the development in November 2012.

The company had paid initially paid $231m, in addition to an exploration and development carry of up to $48m and $722m respectively.