Two of the main overseas players in Falkland Islands offshore oil development moved nearer to merging on Tuesday when shareholders of Falkland Oil and Gas voted in favour of an all-share merger with Rockhopper Exploration.
The scheme of arrangement being used to conduct the merger between the two UK-based firms needs approval at a court hearing set for January 15. If approved, the scheme would become effective on January 18.
Falkland Oil and Rockhopper are in a joint venture with another British company, Premier Oil, in exploratory drilling offshore the Falklands in the south Atlantic Ocean.
Other companies, including French and US interests, are also involved in exploratory activity in Falkland waters.
The companies have incurred the wrath of Argentina’s government for working in what the Argentinians consider disputed waters.
Britain and Argentina fought a short war in 1982 when the British sent a huge military task force to reclaim the islands after they were invaded by troops of Argentina’s military junta.
Bad feeling has been simmering again on the Argentinian side since the start of this offshore exploration. In June last year an Argentine court ordered the seizure of $156m of assets of the oil companies, including Falkland Oil and Rockhopper. That order has not been enforced.