Providence offered licence to search for oil off North
OIL AND gas explorer Providence Resources said yesterday that it has been offered a petroleum exploration licence off Northern Ireland.
The Dublin-based company said that Northern Ireland's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment had offered Providence a licence off Rathlin Island off the coast of Antrim.
The initial licence term is for five years with a decision on a well commitment required within three years.
Providence said it had committed to carry out a number of technical studies of the subsurface geology during the first three years to determine the petroleum potential and inform the decision on the well commitment.
The licence will be held entirely by Providence.
The company's chief executive, Tony O'Reilly, said the new licence complemented the rest of the company's offshore Ireland portfolio.
"Providence has a clear corporate focus to evaluate the hydrocarbon potential of the island of Ireland and this new licence complements our substantial Atlantic Margin and Irish Sea acreage portfolio," he said.
"As with all of our operated activities, Providence will adhere to the highest standards of environmental excellence and consult locally should we progress this licence into the drilling phase," he added.
"The potential under Rathlin Island itself is of interest as this location is interpreted to directly overlie the most mature and potentially most productive part of the basin," said Providence's technical director, John O'Sullivan.
Davy Stockbrokers analyst Job Langbroek said that the move put Providence in prime position should there be a significant find off Ireland.
"Providence believes that a former onshore well, which encountered hydrocarbons, indicates potential towards Rathlin Island. Providence is steadily building the offshore Irish portfolio to the stage where it has full coverage of all the opportunities," he said.