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Providence set to drill offshore Ireland next month

Peter Flanagan - Irish Independent

[Shell to Sea] Please be advised that the Irish Independent is controlled by Tony O Reilly, who also owns oil & gas exploration company Providence Resources.

PROVIDENCE Resources is set to launch its drilling programme offshore Ireland next month, as the company begins a record programme of exploration around the country.

Company chief executive Tony O'Reilly said the company expected to commence drilling at its Barryroe oil discovery off the south coast in October as planned, with six other sites set to be drilled over the coming months.

The market will be watching Barryroe closely, as it is said to be a barometer of the reserves around Ireland. A rig to facilitate the drilling is expected to be delivered by mid-October. Success at Barryroe would likely "de-risk" much of Providence's investment around the island.

Mr O'Reilly was bullish yesterday on the prospects for Providence and, by extension, the Irish economy. "We plan to start drilling next month and to say it's important for Providence goes without saying but it is also important for Ireland. The success of offshore drilling will be an additional revenue stream for the Government," he said.

Mr O'Reilly added that Tullow Oil's recent oil strike in French Guiana was an endorsement of his company's policy of exploring the Atlantic "conjugate margins" off the west coast of Ireland.

Tullow's strike proved the 'Atlantic Mirror' theory that the coast of Africa and South America may both have large deposits of hydrocarbons, and Providence is pursuing a similar theory off Ireland which suggests that the area's oil reserves should match the heavily drilled margins off Canada.

"We were very pleased with their success because it reinforces what we are doing here," said Mr O'Reilly.

"Many of the areas around Ireland were drilled decades ago when the low oil price meant it was not commercially viable to take them to market, but with oil now up close to $100 (€72.50) a barrel the market has moved to us, and it is very much a commercially viable play for us," he claimed.

Mr O'Reilly also confirmed that the highly anticipated Dunquinn site would be drilled by Exxon, which is a partner with Providence in the site off Co Kerry, within the next two years.

Providence closed yesterday flat at €2.30.

Posted Date: 
17 September 2011