A who's who of investors wait to reap rewards
PROVIDENCE Resources was founded in 1997 but it can trace its roots to Atlantic Resources, the exploration company formed by a group of investors led by Sir Anthony O'Reilly in 1981.
Today, the O'Reilly family is still the major shareholder, with close to 20pc. The rest of the company is mostly owned by a who's who of institutional investors.
Blackrock Investment Management is the world's biggest asset manager and ran the stress tests on Irish banks last year. It is believed to have very close relations with the Government. It owns 12.8pc.
JP Morgan Asset Management -- the investment side of the Wall Street giant -- owns just over 9pc of the company.
Other major investors in Providence include HSBC and Henderson Global Investments. On top of these, are a couple of hundred ordinary shareholders, many of whom invested in Atlantic Resources.
If Providence does succeed in producing large quantities of oil in Irish waters, these investors will reap much of the benefits.
That has prompted calls from Socialist TD Joe Higgins and others for the Government to create a national exploration company so we can keep the profits from natural resources, but industry watchers insist there would be no Irish oil industry without private money.
"This is really a philosophical question that will be driven by political outlook but without private enterprise nobody would be drilling for oil around this island," said an unnamed source.
"In today's money between $2bn and $3bn has been put into exploration around Ireland over the years, and not one barrel of oil has so far been sold."