Rockhopper Boosts Estimates at Sea Lion Play

Rockhopper provided the following update on the interpretation of the fast track seismic data over acreage on licenses PL032 and PL033: 

  • Initial interpretation of fast track new seismic data in PL032 and PL033 completed
  • Seismic shows Sea Lion Main Complex ("SLMC") to extend to the south and new high case area to extend over 90km2
  • Two new fan prospects identified within new seismic, Casper and Kermit
  • Management interpretation for SLMC potential size: 
    • Low Case: 608 MMbbls STOIIP
    • Mid Case: 1,086 MMbbls STOIIP
    • High Case: 1,279 MMbbls STOIIP 

Volumes listed above are within Rockhopper's 100% owned acreage. Not included in the high case listed above, based upon the current interpretation, the Company believes that up to approximately 10% additional volume could be contained within license PL004, in which Rockhopper has a non-operated 7.5% working interest.

During 2011 the Company acquired a total of over 4000km2 of 3D seismic data in conjunction with other operators in the area. Data over the southern portion of licenses PL032 and PL033 has been fast track processed and an initial interpretation has now been completed. This initial interpretation, combined with well data from 14/10-2, 14/10-3, 14/10-4, 14/10-5 and 14/10-6, indicates that the SLMC comprises two fan lobes sourced from the same main feeder channel just to the east of the 14/10-5 and 14/10-2 wells. 

The two lobes, represented as sand packages within the wells, are identified as the SL20 and SL10 units, and, from the formation pressure data acquired in the wells, are shown to be in pressure communication. The two packages together comprise the SLMC and are interpreted to comprise of mass flow turbidite sand sequences prograding from the sand input point to the east and extending beyond the southern boundary of license PL032 into license PL004, where Rockhopper has a non-operated 7.5% working interest. 

The Company believes that recovery rates of 30% to 40% could be achievable using industry standard production techniques including water injection, artificial lift, deviated or horizontal wells and /or other enhanced oil recovery techniques. 

Should a recovery factor of 30% be achieved, based upon the Company's mid case area, the SLMC would contain approximately 325mmbbls recoverable oil. Should a recovery factor of 40% be achieved, the mid case number would increase to 434mmbbls recoverable oil. 

The fast track seismic interpretation has enabled the identification of two new feeders into the basin and the mapping of two new prospects, Casper and Kermit. Both of these comprise similar fan systems fed from eastern basin margin feeder channels and exhibit similar seismic character to the SLMC. Casper is stratigraphically shallower than the SLMC while Kermit is stratigraphically deeper than the SLMC. 

Following well 14/10-6 the Company believes that the B15 sand, which forms part of the lower fan complex, has the potential to contain up to 161 mmbbls STOIIP on a high case basis. Formation pressure testing indicates that B15 is also in communication with the SLMC. 

Fan prospects currently mapped on the Company's acreage are now SLMC, Lower Fan (B sands), Chatham, Casper and Kermit. 

In addition to the SLMC, management interpretation of potential in place resources across the other fan prospects within the licence is set out below (All mmbbls STOIIP):

  Low Mid High
Lower Fan (B15) 100 130 161
Casper 135 163 194
Kermit 39 47 55
Chatham 28 93 318

The balance of the newly acquired 3D seismic data is still being processed and the Company expects it will be available for interpretation before the end of 2011. 

Future Drilling Plans 

Following completion of drilling operations on well 14/10-6, the Company is currently committed to drill three further wells using the Ocean Guardian drilling unit. The Company is discussing the possibility of drilling additional wells under an assignment agreement. 

The Company intends to drill the next well 3.3km north west of the 14/10-2 discovery well. The second well in the sequence is currently planned to be located approximately 4.1 km to the south south east of the 14/10-2 discovery well. The third well in the sequence is currently planned to be located approximately 5.5km south west of the 14/10-2 discovery well. The second and third locations are subject to change depending upon drilling results and technical work and are subject to gaining the relevant regulatory consents. The Company currently intends to wait for the result of well 14/10-7 before deciding whether to take any additional drilling slots. Estimates of in place and prospective resource information are based upon wells drilled to date and could alter with future well results. Once the Company completes its current drilling campaign, all estimated potential in place resource estimates will be further refined. 

Operations continue at the 14/10-6 location and a further announcement will be made once 14/10-7 has been spudded. 

Sam Moody, Chief Executive, commented, "We are highly encouraged by the interpretation of new seismic data which identifies both significant reservoir extension and the existence of two additional fan prospects above and beneath the Sea Lion Main Complex. We look forward to continuing our drilling program as we seek to further refine our understanding of Sea Lion and the other prospects on our licenses."

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