business model and strategy

"Borders & Southern’s aim is to discover hydrocarbons and monetise them for the benefit of all its stakeholders. We create value through exploration success, then add value by progressing discoveries through appraisal and development into production."


Borders & Southern Petroleum was formed in 2004 with the objective of making material hydrocarbon discoveries in frontier basins.

Our strategy is to identify opportunities early, preferably in a non-competitive situation, where we can licence large tracts of acreage with potentially multiple play types. Our focus is on frontier or emerging basins where we can demonstrate the presence of a regional source rock.

Our idea for the Falkland Islands was to test the area located to the south of the Islands where we could identify large folds and tilted fault blocks on sparsely spaced vintage regional seismic lines. Although no structures could be mapped, the fold belt trend offered potential to deliver large-scale structural traps.

Our regional work gave us confidence that a good quality Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous regional marine source rock would be present. We were prepared to take risk on finding a good quality reservoir.

In November 2004 we applied for and were successfully awarded an area of approximately 20,000 square kilometres, covering a large section of the east-west trending fold belt.

Our initial work commitment was relatively low and financial exposure modest, reflecting the relatively high risk nature of the project. As we collected new data and our knowledge of the geology grew, the sub-surface risks started to reduce and we were able to progressively increase our investment in the area.


Exploration commenced in 2005 with the acquisition of 2,862 kilometres of non-exclusive 2D seismic data. This data proved that numerous robust structural traps existed within our acreage. However, the 2D data did not provide enough insight into potential hydrocarbon charged reservoir.

The technical risk had been reduced, but not enough to merit drilling. Funds were raised and 1,492 square kilometres of 3D seismic was acquired in 2008. It was this data that significantly reduced the risk profile of the project giving us confidence on the presence of reservoir and hydrocarbons due to compelling direct hydrocarbon indicators – an excellent flat spot was noted on the Darwin structure.

Following a major fund raising exercise in 2009, a rig contract was signed with the objective of testing two independent prospects: Darwin and Stebbing. In 2012 the Company was successful with its first exploration well located on the Darwin prospect (61/17-1), a liquids rich (46-49 API) gas condensate discovery. Our current un-risked P50 recoverable resource estimate is 360 million barrels. The second well, Stebbing, had very strong hydrocarbon shows but failed to reach its main target due to high pressures making it unsafe to continue to drill.

Having proven the petroleum system, the next stage was to determine the lateral extent of the play fairway and focus on near-field prospects. In 2013 a new 1,025 square kilometres 3D seismic survey was acquired. Then in 2014 we reprocessed the original 3D data and merged it with the new survey, giving us 2,517 square kilometres of high quality PSDM 3D seismic data.

Appraise and Develop

Our short-term plan is to:

  • Keep progressing the Darwin discovery towards development and
  • Secure partners and funding to start an appraisal drilling programme

Recent steps have included:

  • Assessment of potential appraisal well locations
  • Completion of well designs
  • Reservoir modelling to assess potential development well locations, flow rates and an estimate of the recoverable volume of condensate
  • Scoping development study and commercial analysis
  • Near-field prospect resource estimates for future growth