Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rockhopper's New Estimates Raise Hopes That Falklands Really Are Awash with Oil

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rockhopper's New Estimates Raise Hopes That Falklands Really Are Awash with Oil

Article excerpt

Byline: Rosamund Urwin MARKET ROUND-UP

FALKLANDS fervour returned to the City today, as Rockhopper raised hopes that the remote British territory could be rich with black gold after all.

The energy exploration group, a favourite of private punters, has upped its estimates for how much oil it could find at its Sea Lion discovery, believing that the find in the North Falkland basin may extend further than previously thought. Its most pessimistic forecast has been upped from 516 million barrels of oil to 608 million. Rockhopper surged 171/4p to 235p but is still a long way off the record high of 510p it reached last September.

Out of a gaggle of London-listed companies searching for crude in the area, Rockhopper is the only one which has so far struck lucky. Professional punters who betted that the Falklands would become a new oil province have largely been left disappointed, and out of pocket. Desire Petroleum, Rockhopper's rival who turned crude into water, has been a particularly painful punt. Its shares, worth 167.5p last September, were today changing hands for 19.6p, up 2.5p.

After the panic of the past week and a half, normality was restored to the City this morning. That meant, it being August, nothing was happening. In light volumes, shares were marked slightly higher, with the FTSE 100 rising 24.94 points to 5344.97. The quiet -- which one might think would have made a welcome change -- still had some traders complaining. "The phone is hardly ringing," said one man in pinstripe. "There's so little going on, I'm desperately bored. …

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