British exploration firm Europa Oil and Gas hopes to begin drilling on its prospects off the west coast of Ireland in the near future after an independent study found that they could be worth up to $251m (€223m).
Engineering consultants ERC Equipoise put the net present value of Europa's 15pc share of the licence in Porcupine Basin at an unrisked $1.6bn.
However, this value would only be realised in optimal circumstances which are unlikely to occur. The mean, risked net present value is put at $251m (€223m).
Europa has three prospects within frontier exploration licence: Wilde, Beckett and Shaw.
The report ascribes a 19pc chance of drilling success to the Wilde prospect, 15pc to Beckett and 13pc to Shaw.
The ERC Equipoise study follows a competent person's report which suggests the licences could be host to an unrisked 1.5bn barrels of prospective oil resources.
The term 'resources' refers to all the deposits in the ground, recoverable or not.
US firm explorer Kosmos Energy co-owns the three licences off the Kerry coast with Europa Oil and is the senior partner for the venture with an 85pc stake.
Kosmos is the licence operator on the project and will incur 100pc of the costs of the first exploration subject to an investment cap of $110m.
A spokesman for Europa Oil told the Irish Independent that a decision on drilling is now "up to Kosmos".
"The value of the asset has two big 'ifs'. First Kosmos has to decide to drill and then we have to find some oil," the spokesman said.
"We like the prospect and we think it makes a good candidate for drilling [but] Kosmos has a big portfolio.
"It will probably be later in the year before they make a decision."
Kosmos is thought to be planning to bring a new partner to the exploration venture via farm-out in order to share some of the costs and risks.
It is anticipated that this process will advance later in the year, and a decision regarding drill plans would follow thereafter.