Providence advances Avalon oil prospect
Irish oil and gas explorer Providence Resources is a step closer to drilling a prospect off the south-west coast.
The company and its partners have had their interest in the project upgraded to a so-called frontier exploration licence, which paves the way for an exploration well.
The acreage involved is in the southern Porcupine Basin, and the primary target is known as 'Avalon'.
The licence is operated by French giant Total, which has a 50pc interest.
Total has also agreed to pay 60pc of a well on the licence, up to a cost cap of $42m (€37m). Providence has a 40pc share in the licence.
"We are very pleased to confirm approval from the Minister to progress the Avalon licensing option to frontier exploration licence status," Dr John O'Sullivan, technical director at Providence, said.
"Avalon is a very large and exciting prospect, which lies adjacent to Dunquin North, and the joint venture partners look forward to progressing it further under the operatorship of Total."
Last year the Dublin-listed company signed a farm-out agreement with Chinese company Apec Energy at the potentially huge Barryroe field off the coast of Co Cork.
The agreement comprises the drilling and testing of five wells plus an option for two more.
The company is also evaluating whether it can generate electricity from billions of barrels of boiling water found under the sea bed.