Monday 19 August 2019

Providence threatens to sue Government over Climate Action Bill

Providence CEO Tony O’Reilly. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
Providence CEO Tony O’Reilly. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Irish oil and gas explorer Providence Resources has threatened legal action against the Government if the Climate Action Bill is passed.

In its annual results for 2018, the group, whose flagship project is Barryroe off the coast of Cork, said that if the bill is enacted Providence Resources would not be able to progress its issued licensing authorisation to the next stage.

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"This would adversely impact any current planned operations, and would thus pose a significant risk to the company as a going concern," said Tony O'Reilly, CEO of Providence.

"Should this Bill be enacted, we would rightly seek financial redress from the State in respect of our very significant historical investment to date on behalf of our shareholders," Mr O'Reilly added.

Meanwhile, the group is to amend its business model to reflect changes in its operating environment.

This will "significantly impact" the requirement for staff at its Dublin-headquarters, where it currently employs 14.

Future projects will be outsourced, which it said was more aligned with the "reduced and sporadic nature" of its operated activities.

In relation to the ongoing delay in receiving a $9m (€8m) loan from Chinese backer APEC Energy Enterprises to fund a Barryroe prospect survey, the group said it remains "confident" that the loan will be received shortly.

The funding had initially been expected late last year, but then put off until June 14. It is now due to be received on July 5.

Last year's results for the Dublin-listed group showed that losses had declined to €4.8m for the year, from a loss of €20.4m reported in 2017.

By the end of 2018, Providence had no debt and reported total cash and cash equivalents of €7.6m, a decline on the €19.6m in the prior year.

"Despite encountering increased regulatory and political headwinds, we continued to progress our portfolio and in doing so, have further advanced assets that will help Ireland to meet its future energy needs," Mr O'Reilly said. "The key commercial milestone in 2018 was the negotiation and signing of the Barryroe Farm-Out Agreement with APEC."

Irish Independent

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