The company said that it is now preparing to progress its operational program, which will include appraising the Sea Lion discovery, shooting additional 3D seismic across the extent of the North Falkland Basin and drilling further exploration and appraisal wells on its Northern acreage.

Diamond Offshore Drilling (UK) has recently made a proposal to Rockhopper, at Rockhopper’s request, for a continuation of the drilling campaign under a new rig contract consisting of a possible three firm wells and five options extension.

Diamond Offshore Drilling is the owner and manager of the Ocean Guardian semi-submersible drilling unit.

The execution of any such contract with Diamond Offshore Drilling (UK) will be subject both to the deposit by the company into an escrow account of significant funds sufficient to cover the day rate and other obligations and to agreement on a form of contract acceptable to both parties.

Furthermore, the company has entered into two letters of intent with a seismic contractor to acquire additional 3D seismic using two separate vessels.

The company intends to enter into contracts to procure both vessels shortly and, if it does so, it expects that work will begin before the end of January 2011.