Rockhopper Exploration has drilled exploration well 14 /1 0-3 in licence PL032, offshore the Falkland Islands, to a total depth of 2,830m.

Designed to explore the northern lobe of the Sea Lion fan feature, the well is the first to be drilled in the area.

The well, which lies 8km from the Sea Lion oil discovery, encountered a good quality reservoir of between 2,425m and 2,535m in four main sandstone intervals.

Within these sand intervals 64m of gross reservoir sand was encountered with net sand of 54m.

Analyses show that three of the sands have high water saturation with hydrocarbon shows, and that the reservoir is located beneath a thick regional shale seal.

Rockhopper chief executive Sam Moody said that the results are indicative of significant upside potential across the Sea Lion and S2 features.

“This well is the first of a number we plan to drill during 2011, focusing largely on delineating the extent and size of the Sea Lion discovery, as well as testing additional exploration upside,” he said.

The firm will now undertake further work to determine the likelihood of oil being present elsewhere in the northern Sea Lion lobe.