Rockhopper Exploration says it is carrying out work on several fronts in the hope of proceeding with the Sea Lion field off the Falkland Islands, despite Harbour Energy’s exit.

Rockhopper said Harbour’s decision, announced last week, was a “difficult moment” but also presented a “very real opportunity”.

Work has already begun on an alternative, lower-cost scheme using the “existing extensive design and engineering work undertaken for the project in recent years”, Rockhopper said on Thursday.