Led by project operator Premier Oil PLC (LON:PMO), Sea Lion is being advanced to a final investment decision which could come by mid-2019, subject to the securing of senior debt facilities for the project.
"We continue to work closely with the Operator to progress Sea Lion and, while much work still needs to be done to finalise the funding of the development, we are very encouraged with the current momentum in the project and to have agreed the increased activity and headcount proposed by Premier,” McManus said.
“With oil prices currently above US$75 per barrel, we are focussing all of our efforts on doing everything possible to allow project sanction to take place next year.
"Notwithstanding the increased activity and spend on Sea Lion, the company continues its ongoing focus on cost control and has maintained a strong balance sheet with cash resources at mid-2018 of US$46mln and no debt."
Elsewhere in the Rockhopper portfolio, there’s ongoing drilling at the Abu Sennan project in Egypt (with two more wells slated in the 2018 programme) and the company awaits progress over its arbitration over the Ombrina Mare asset in Italy.
In the meantime, Rockhopper highlighted that it continues to seek new venture opportunities that can deliver production and cash flow.