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The Falkland Islands, an Emerging Petroleum Province


The Falkland Islands are surrounded by five Mesozoic sedimentary basins, the most prolific of these basins, the North Falkland Basin, has seen considerable exploration interest and success over recent years. The North Falkland Basin can be divided into two main structural elements: a main north-south trending graben in the north; and a series of smaller grabens with a NW-SE trend in the south. The north-south trending main graben can subsequently be divided into western and eastern depocentres, of which the eastern has seen the main focus of exploration. Despite the reputation as a frontier region, the Falkland Islands have seen a considerably high exploration success rate. Two separate drilling campaigns between 2010-2012 yielded eight oil, gas and condensate discoveries in 21 wells across three distinct basins. The main highlight being the discovery of the Sea Lion Main Complex, a sequence of oil-filled, lacustrine turbidite fans, which lie in the failed rift of the North Falkland Basin. These turbidites are estimated to contain 1.2 billion barrels STOIIP, with first production focussing on the northern part of the Sea Lion Complex projected to come on-stream in 2020. The 2015 exploration campaign, while encountering some drilling-related technical difficulties, provided significant encouragement with another two oil discoveries (Zebedee and Isobel Deep) from four wells. The Isobel discovery was particularly significant as it proved-up a second play within the North Falkland Basin, and greatly increased the extent of the known petroleum system. This presentation will provide an update on the recent exploration activity focussing on the north-south trending main graben of the NFB, and will showcase some key areas and potential for future exploration in other parts of the basin.