Falkland Islands to hold talks with agencies as UK companies increase oil exploration

The Falkland Islands government has initiated a trawl for international comms consultancy as Argentina steps up political pressure on the British territory.

All at sea: media interest around Falklands increased
All at sea: media interest around Falklands increased

The move follows increased international media interest in the Falklands, triggered by UK firms stepping up oil exploration in its territorial waters this year. Discoveries of potentially profitable oil fields have coincided with fresh calls from the Argentine government to hold talks over ownership of the islands.

Industry insiders said the activity had persuaded the Falkland Islands government (FIG) that it needed external comms advice to beef up its international profile.

It is thought FIG has put out a wide-ranging international corporate positioning brief and will be talking to global corporate comms agencies this month.

Sukey Cameron MBE, representative of the FIG in the UK, confirmed: 'We are looking at our future PR requirements and a decision on the various options will be made by our Legislative Assembly at the end of the month.'

She added: 'For political reasons, we do not wish to make any announcement until after that time.'

FIG uses Keene Public Affairs for a tourism-based brief and Edelman for general public affairs. Neither is thought to be directly affected.

Last month, UK-listed firm Rockhopper discovered an oil field off the shore of the Falklands that was hailed as potentially the biggest discovery of its kind since North Sea Oil.

Oil firms have embarked on a sustained exploration programme this year, which could revolutionise the economy of the British territory and provide a massive boost to its global standing.

The drilling off the coast of the British territory, currently home to about 3,000 people, has caused consternation in Argentina and reignited calls to discuss sovereignty.

TIME LINE

June 2010: Press report David Cameron will tell Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at the G20 that Britain would not budge on the issue of the Falkland Islands, but the topic is not raised

May 2010: Rockhopper Exploration finds 'Sea Lion' well that may hold as many as 700 million barrels

March 2010: Hillary Clinton calls for Falklands talks after meeting with the Argentine President.

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