22 January 2024

Rockhopper Exploration plc
(“Rockhopper” or the “Company”)

Sea Lion and Corporate Update

Rockhopper Exploration plc (AIM: RKH), the oil and gas company with key interests in the North Falkland Basin (“NFB”),notes the recent update published by Navitas Petroleum LP (“Navitas” or the “Operator”) on Sea Lion development progress, which included an updated development plan to align with their static and dynamic reservoir models, resulting in the increase in certified resources in an updated NFB independent resource report conducted by Netherland Sewell & Associates (“NSAI”)(the “2024 NSAI Independent Report”) on behalf of Navitas.

According to the 2024 NSAI Independent Report, the certified gross 2C resources in the overall NFB have increased from 712 MMbbls to 791 MMbbls. This represents an increase in resources of 11% in the overall NFB portfolio compared to the previous certified 2C resource, as published on 20 March 2023.

Navitas has identified suitable and available existing floating production storage and offloading (“FPSO”) vessels and is actively working with leading industry vendors to secure all long lead equipment, continuing to target Sea Lion phase 1 Final Investment Decision (“FID”) in 2024 and first oil at the end of 2026.

The Sea Lion Field Development Plan (“FDP”), which has been optimised utilising the selected FPSO specifications, still comprises 23 wells drilled in two phases with a 16% increase in gross 2C resources from 269 MMbbls to 312 MMbbls out of overall 791 MMbbls certified discovered resources in the NFB.  Against a background of continued industry cost inflation, gross capex required to first oil has been reduced from US$1.3 billion to US$1.2 billion with a capex of approximately US$8 per barrel and opex across life of field has been materially reduced to under US$17 per barrel, providing very robust economics and a lower risk project with a lower attractive break even under US$25 per barrel (compared to the US$27 previously reported).

The hydrocarbons will be produced through the redeployed FPSO, to provide an extended plateau for some eight years through a “Drill to Fill” optimization, with a peak production rate of up to 55,000 bbls/d.  The prolonged plateau increased total recovery and lowered cost per barrel means that the NPV10 remains within 5% of previously published numbers despite the initial lower plateau production rate.  Front end engineering design (“FEED”) is ongoing evaluating potential for further accelerated production ramp up and increased capacity.

The FPSO has a disconnectable turret enabling redeployment to another NFB field and allowing a second, potentially larger vessel to replace it on Sea Lion with increased production capacity above 80,000 bbls/d.  The long term potential for the Basin could utilise up to 3 FPSOs with a total production of approximately 200,000 bbls/d.  This phased plan minimises CAPEX to first oil while providing flexibility for basin expansion and acceleration of production from fields beyond Sea Lion.

An updated FDP has been submitted to the Falkland Islands Government and it is anticipated that an updated Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) will be submitted during Q1 2024.

Key Information
2C Contingent Resources (Development Pending) phase 1 and 2 development concept for the Sea Lion field:

·    23 wells

 Phased drilling

 11 wells in phase 1, with 5 of them pre first oil

 12 additional wells in phase 2 approximately 4 years post first oil

·    Total barrels developed 312 MMbbls

·    Peak production rate up to 55,000 barrels per day

·    Total capex US$2.5bn

·    Pre first oil capex US$1.2bn

Per barrel cost life of field (rounded):

Capex

US$8

Opex

US$17

Total cost

US$25

 

Navitas published the 2024 NSAI Independent Report which is available on Navitas’ website, and contains the following resource estimates:

1C (MMbbls)

2C (MMbbls)

3C (MMbbls)

Development Pending

228

312

406

Development Unclarified

281

479

757

Total

509

791

1,163

The Development Pending category of 2C 312 MMbbls is the phase 1 and 2 development outlined above. The Development Unclarified category of 479 MMbbls 2C are the additional gross resources contained on the NFB held by Navitas and Rockhopper, including Sea Lion and Isobel/Elaine, that could be developed under future phases but for which there is currently no published development plan.

Rockhopper holds a 35% working interest in Sea Lion and associated NFB licences and benefits from various loans from Navitas in relation to the development, which are detailed in previous announcements.

Corporate Update

The Company’s cash position as at 31 December 2023 was approximately $8 million which does not include a further $2.2 million receivable by the Company in January pursuant to the exercise of warrants.

Further to the announcement on 20 December 2023 regarding the monetisation of Ombrina Mare Arbitration Award, the Company continues to work through the requisite approvals and still expects completion by no later than 30 June 2024

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Rockhopper Exploration plc
Sam Moody – Chief Executive Officer
Tel. +44 (0)20 7390 0230 (via Vigo Consulting)

Canaccord Genuity Limited (NOMAD and Joint Broker)
Henry Fitzgerald-O’Connor/James Asensio/Ana Ercegovic
Tel. +44 (0) 20 7523 8000

Peel Hunt LLP (Joint Broker)
Richard Crichton/Georgia Langoulant
Tel. +44 (0) 20 7418 8900

Vigo Consulting
Patrick d’Aconoa/Ben Simons/Fiona Hetherington
Tel. +44 (0) 20 7390 0234