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Providence field could yield 200m oil barrels

Barry O'Halloran - Irish Times

EXPLORATION GROUP Providence Resources believes one of its licence areas off the west coast could produce up to 200 million barrels of oil.

The company said yesterday that following further analysis of data taken from its Spanish Point field in the Porcupine Basin off the west coast, it and its partners, Chrysaor and Sosina Exploration, now believe the field could produce commercial quantities of oil.

Providence believes that the reservoir there could contain up to 500 million barrels of oil and that up to 200 million barrels could be recovered from the field, which is 170km off the coast.

The company said up to 72,000 barrels a day could be produced once it reaches its peak.

Phillips Petroleum, now ConocoPhillips, discovered the Spanish Point field in 1981 but weakening oil prices at that time prevented it from going ahead with any effort to exploit it. Providence and its partners acquired the licence in 2008 when the Government granted frontier permits designed to encourage exploration close to the limit of the Republic’s territorial waters.

The following year Chrysaor carried out seismic tests, which give a picture of the underlying rock formations – the main clue to oil deposits.

Yesterday’s announcement was based on an analysis of the results of these tests, which included information on the field that was not previously available.

The three partners are now planning to begin the next stage of exploring the field by drilling appraisal wells next year.

Commenting on the results, Providence chief executive Tony O’Reilly said the technical work had woken “the sleeping giant” that is Spanish Point.

“This is not only a significant event for Providence and its partners, but for the whole Irish offshore,” he said.