Saturday 23 September 2017

George Garvey: Black gold strike is a lesson in persistence

A Providence rig during the drilling at Barryroe, 50km off the south coast.
A Providence rig during the drilling at Barryroe, 50km off the south coast.

George Garvey

AT last, after almost 40 years of trying, a commercial oil field has been discovered in Irish waters. After decades of disappointment, the Barryroe field looks like the real deal. Even by North Sea standards, a field containing between one and 1.6 billion barrels is a major find. Suddenly all of those old jokes about Shamrock Sheikhs don't seem quite so outlandish any more.

It is fitting that it was Providence that finally discovered oil in commercial quantities in Irish waters. Providence is the corporate grandchild of Atlantic Resources, the company founded by Sir Anthony O'Reilly to explore for oil off the Irish coast in 1981.

Over the past 31 years, while other exploration companies have come and gone from offshore Ireland, Atlantic/Providence in its various guises has persevered.

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