The Falkland Islands are a windswept archipelago in the southern Atlantic, about 250 nautical miles (290 mi; 460 km) from the coast of mainland South America, claimed by both Britain and Argentina, which calls them the Malvinas. In 1982 the two countries fought a vicious two-month war over them, ending in a complete British victory. In light of the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, the major issue remains the resource-rich waters surrounding them, which under UNCLOS terms, provide a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone for their exploitation.
Both Britain and Argentina believe that the waters contain rich hydrocarbon resources and drilling off the Falklands has been going on for over two decades. Desire Petroleum plc and Falkland Oil and Gas both drilled test wells in the Falklands’ EEZ that came up dry. Later that year, Britain’s Rockhopper Exploration plc announced that its Falkland test wells indicated that its Sea Lion prospect reservoir contained at least 155 million barrels of recoverable oil.
YPF Argentina’s energy company has now reported that its first offshore well drilled in what it terms the “Malvinas basin” proved dry. The drilling effort was a joint venture with Brazil’s Petrobras and Pan American Energy, a Chinese-Argentine group.
The drilling zone was located 186 miles from Argentina’s city of Rio Grande and 80 miles from Isla de los Estados, to the southeast of Tierra del Fuego.
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com