Exploration licences are designed to allow companies to acquire speculative and/or proprietary seismic, gravity, magnetic, geochemical and sea-bed data. They do not allow drilling deeper than 350 m below sea bed.
Exploration licences are not area specific and can apply to all of the Designated Area (or such other smaller area as agreed).
Activities undertaken under an exploration licence may extend into a production licence area only with the consent of the production licence holder.
Furthermore, if a production licence holder is using a third party to acquire data on its behalf within its production licence area, it must ensure that the third party holds an exploration licence in its own right in order to conduct such surveys. However, production licence holders do not require an exploration licence unless they intend to conduct surveys themselves outside the confines of their production licence areas.
An exploration licence is normally issued for one year, renewable for up to three years
All surveys to be conducted under an exploration licence must be notified to the Director of Mineral Resources at least 30 days in advance of operations starting. Holders of exploration licences are required to supply copies of all data to the Governor (or more usually to the British Geological Survey). All data will be held in confidence by the Falkland Islands Government for a period of five years (or longer as determined by negotiation) but may then be released to the public.
An application for an exploration licence can be made at any time by submitting three completed copies of an application form obtainable from the Director of Mineral Resources (or downloadable below), enclosing an application fee of £1000 (cheques made payable to the Falkland Islands Government).