Falkland Islands oil reserves 'to help British economy'

A North Sea oil and gas exploration rig is on its way from Scotland to the North Falkland Basin to explore reserves. Scientists believe that the territory could have up to 60 billion barrels of oil underneath its coastal waters.

Areas to the north and the south of the islands are being explored by four British companies – Rockhopper Exploration, Desire Petroleum, Falkland Oil and Gas and Borders and Southern Petroleum.

The estimated amount of oil has already led to the British financial sector pouring around £327 million into the off shore projects.

Both Britain and Argentina have staked claims to the maritime territory south of the Falklands. Oil companies last drilled in the Falklands in 1998 but stopped as wells were not seen as viable at the time. It is now thought to make economic sense because of high oil prices

David Hudd, chairman of Falkland Islands Holdings and vice-chairman of Falkland Oil and Gas, told The Sun: "The benefits are potentially huge for the companies involved, the Falkland Islands and for Britain."

The world's biggest oilfield is Ghawar in Saudi Arabia. It is thought to contain 80 billion barrels. The largest oilfield in the North Sea is Forties, which has five billion barrels.

Earlier this year Gordon Brown said he would not surrender the sovereignty of the Falklands despite Cristina Kirchner, the Argentinian President pledging to gain it 25 years after the unsuccessful invasion.

[Source: The Telegraph, London, UK, 02Dec09]

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