UK-listed Premier Oil has received approval from the Falkland Islands government to become operator and farm into 60% of Rockhopper Exploration’s North Falkland basin interests.

Rockhopper reported to the London Stock Exchange in July that the farm-out would see Premier paying $231 million in cash up front for the stake in licences PL023, PL024, PL032, PL033, PL003 and PL004, with an exploration carry of $48 million for three wells.

Premier would also pay for Rockhopper’s share of project development costs up to a value of $1.8 billion.

The licences contain discoveries including Sea Lion, Casper, Casper South and Beverley, which have been estimated to hold net discovered resources of about 200 million barrels and net risked prospective resources of 175 million barrels of oil.

Formal completion of the farm-out process is anticipated shortly, Rockhopper stated.