The Falkland Islands are located on the south eastern margin of the South American tectonic plate which extends as far as Maurice Ewing bank to the east of the islands. It was at this location, on this ancient piece of crust, that several academic research wells were drilled in the 1970s and 1980s. The results from these wells, combined with drilling results from the Argentine Magallanes basin, demonstrated the hydrocarbon potential of the basins that lie to the south and east of the Falkland Islands.
The context for these basins was created by the break up of the Gondwana supercontinent during the Triassic and Jurassic periods. This continental mass comprised of what are now the continents of America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia and part of Asia. One of the earliest parts to fragment from the massive landmass was Antarctica. This created a small ocean basin, called the Weddell Sea, between the Falklands and Antarctica to the south. It was in this basin, that much of the petroleum system, that we believe to be active in our acreage, was deposited. In the Early Cretaceous (about 130 million years ago) the final phase of the break up of Gondwana was initiated as South America began to separate from West Africa. By 100 million years ago, the separation was complete and an open seaway existed between the Weddell Sea to the south of the Falklands and the South Atlantic to the north. The continued growth of the South Atlantic resulted in increased separation of South America and West Africa until the present day configuration was achieved.
Several basins were formed during this early break of Gondwana and some of these have become prolific oil and gas provinces (for example the Santos basin in Brazil). The South and East Falklands basins are part of a series of basins that extend onto what is now the Argentine mainland. The Magallanes basin in Argentina is a major oil and gas province and its early history shares many similarities with the East Falklands basin. The later geological history of the Falklands diverged from Argentina which was subjected to the influence of the growing Andes mountain chain to the west. More on:http://www.fogl.com/fogl/en/Operations/geology