Irish oil and gas explorer Providence Resources has begun the process of transferring the share of its Barryroe field in the Celtic Sea from former Chinese backer Apec back to the original owners.
Exola, a subsidiary of Providence and operator of the Barryroe field, said it has notified Apec about the move.
In September last year Providence said it would no longer extend the deadline to receive a $9m loan from Apec, in what was the latest in a series of delays with the money being transferred.
The group implemented a number of cost-cutting measures during the year, including a redundancy programme, and today it operates with skeletal staff.
The transfer of the license containing Barryroe – the explorer’s flagship asset – will result in Exola and Lansdowne Celtic Sea reverting to their original 80pc and 20pc interest in the field.
Exola said it has recommenced the farm-out process in respect of Barryroe, and “a number of companies” are assessing the field data.
In a statement, it added that “several companies” not included in the initial farm-out process have expressed interest in the gas potential and have been invited into the data room.
The Barryroe appraisal work programme is expected to include at least two appraisal wells and an extended production test.
Providence is also assessing the potential for a carbon neutral gas development as an option for the Barryroe field.
Several nearby depleted gas fields are being prepared for decommissioning.
Providence said it may be possible to minimise the carbon footprint of a Barryroe development by recycling some of the existing pipelines and infrastructure associated with the depleted fields and participating in a broader carbon capture initiative.
Last month Providence appointed Alan Linn as its new CEO.
He replaces Tony O'Reilly Jnr, who stepped down in December after funding of $9m failed to materialise.