PROVIDENCE Resources said it is well placed to capitalise on growth in the oil-and-gas market around Ireland despite widening losses for 2012.
The Irish exploration company said losses almost doubled to €24m last year as it stepped up the biggest exploration programme in Irish history. Analysts said the losses will be of little consequence if it can pull off production at any of its licences around Ireland.
The company claims to have found almost 1.5 billion barrels of oil at Barryroe off the south coast, while it is a partner in the Dunquin site in the Atlantic, which is being drilled by the supermajor Exxon this month.
Chief executive Tony O'Reilly said 2012 had been a "landmark" year for the company.
"This $500m (€375m) six-well programme is the largest and most comprehensive drilling programme undertaken offshore Ireland," he said.
"This first of six wells (at Barryroe) has far exceeded expectations. Drilling of the second well, the Dunquin exploration well in the Porcupine Basin, off the west coast of Ireland, commenced in April 2013 and plans are now in place for a further appraisal well to be drilled on the Spanish Point gas condensate field in 2014," he added.
Mr O'Reilly said the Barryroe discovery had "validated" his company's view on the chances of finding oil around Ireland. "In addition to the operational success of the past year, Providence has also completely restructured its balance sheet over the last 18 months and is now entirely debt-free.
"We therefore feel extremely well placed to capitalise on the positive momentum that we have built up in 2012."