Hydrocarbons not at expense of Falkland Islands future says islands politician
THE Falklands Assembly is committed to a “highly regulated and environmentally robust hydrocarbons sector, this is unchanged,” MLA Teslyn Barkman assured Penguin News on Thursday.
The paper approached Gilbert House following news that representatives of Navitas Petroleum LP, an oil company with interests in the Falklands in partnership with Rockhopper Exploration PLC, were currently visiting the Islands. MLA Barkman, is Portfolio holder for Natural Resources, including mineral resources and PN asked her whether there had been any change to the Assembly’s stance on hydrocarbons. She assured not.
Asked whether there was any concern about recent statements from UK Labour Party leadership against new oil and gas licences MLA Barkman said “we have an existing sector.
She said: “UK Governmental churn is always a factor and we will be sure that both His Majesty’s Government and opposition are aware of the high standard we expect from our sector. Both parties have fully recognised that the natural resources and management of the economy is for the Falklands to decide.”
Asked how the environmental commitments of the Assembly can be balanced with the economic goals and the commitment to hydrocarbons, MLA Barkman said “in the same way that we do already with our natural resources based economy.”
MLA Barkman continued that “it has to be well regulated, it can’t be at the expense of the future.”
She added that hydrocarbons were a different industry and “it isn’t going to be one that continues to produce or be sustainable forever,” and so it is the duty of government to make “smart decisions, making sure that when that wealth or the industry stops – and at some point it will because there will be no more oil of commercial value left in the Falklands – that we haven’t set the country up to fail as a result of that.”
She explained that setting up a sovereign wealth fund – a state-owned investment fund comprised of money generated by the government, often derived from a country’s surplus reserves – can ensure that this scenario does not play out.
“You need to make sure that the societal expectations around the economic benefit are well thought through. Then you don’t just do boom and bust.”
She added on the environmental side the consideration of environmental footprints, extensive consultation including Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), will make sure that any work in hydrocarbons would not be at the expense of the environment – “making sure that you’re not tolerating impact that is completely beyond what this society and what this country needs.”
Falklands oil interests
The most recent developments in oil interests in the Falklands have included a revised plan from Navitas and Rockhopper for operations in the Sea Lion project.
The new approach is to be staged, intended, it is said, to reduce initial expenditure and give access to resources gradually.
Earlier in 2023 it was anticipated that a Final Investment Decision (FID) was anticipated in 2024, with technical work to take place first. From FID to first oil a 30 month period is expected.
Argos Resources, an oil and gas exploration company, recently sold its sole asset – the PL 001 production license in the north of the Falklands – to JHI Associates, a Canadian oil and gas company. This trade was consented to by the Falkland Islands Government.
Argos Resources, following a decision last week, is currently in liquidation – selling off resources ahead of dissolution of the company.
Argos Resources is a separate entity to Argos fishing, and has no direct effect on their operations in the Falklands.