Premier Oil acquires majority stake in Rockhopper's Falkland field for $1 bn

British oil and gas explorer Premier Oil has acquired a majority stake in licences held by Rockhopper Exploration near the disputed Falkland Island for $1 billion, a move that will once again trigger tensions between Argentina and the UK over the sovereignty of the island located in the South Atlantic.

The move comes 30 years after both countries fought a short but bitter war over the island called Las Malvinas by Argentina, and barely three weeks after the two countries traded heated words at the G20 summit in Mexico. 

The UK government has backed the deal, much to Argentina's anger, specially after it had already threatened companies operating in the disputed area with criminal and civil charges. 

Rockhopper' Sea Lion field near the Falkland Island, which is bigger than the North Sea fields, is estimated to hold around 320 million barrels of oil, making it one of the largest discoveries so far in the region so far. 

The Salisbury, Wiltshire-based company has been seeking investors to help fund the estimated $2 billion costs of developing Sea Lion.

Under the deal, which will give Premier a 60-per cent stake in the Sea Lion oil field, Premier will pay $231 million in cash, and another $48 million of Rockhopper's share of exploration costs.