Oil exploration firm Desire Petroleum has suffered another setback in its drilling campaign in the Falkands after a mechanical failure.

Shares in Malvern-based Desire (DES) remained depressed after the company admitted that the first effort at reaching target drilling depth had failed.

The current well will be plugged and abandoned prior to moving the drilling rig to a new location on the prospect, called Rachel.

Stephen Phipps, chairman of Desire, said “It is disappointing that we have been unable to collect all the data that would have enabled us to fully evaluate the Rachel sidetrack well. However the data that we have been able to gather has given us sufficient encouragement to drill another well on the Rachel prospect.

“Following the Sea Lion oil discovery by Rockhopper Exploration, this is the second well to indicate the presence of hydrocarbons in what is now termed the east flank play fairway and gives us encouragement that further oil fields will be discovered in this area.”

Shares in Desire actually picked up slightly after the announcement to the London Stock Exchange, which came at the same time as a similar announcement from rival drilling firm Rockhopper (RKH).

The value of Desire’s stock rose 1.25p to 93.25p by 9.10am on November 2, still significantly lower than highs of 168.5p, set earlier this year.