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Serica believes Irish Sea gas find may be commercial

Barry O Halloran - Irish Times

BRITISH exploration group Serica estimates that one of its licences in the Irish Sea could hold commercial quantities of natural gas. Chief executive Paul Ellis said yesterday that the Conan field in Irish waters could hold up to one billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Serica is exploring off both the west and east coasts. This year, it announced that it had found oil in the Slyne Basin off Mayo and close to the Corrib Field, which is operated by Shell and has reserves of one trillion cubic feet of gas.

The company’s find was the first of its kind off the west coast for 30 years. However, it will take time to establish if the find is commercial. Stormy north Atlantic winters mean that opportunities to drill in areas such as the Slyne Basin and Rockall are limited to summer. Serica began a $30 million drilling programme off the Irish coast last year.

Mr Ellis was discussing prospects for a number of its exploration licences after announcing the sale of interests in the Far East. Serica sold a stake in the Kambuna gas field in Indonesia and announced its exit from Vietnam.

The company hopes that the Oates field, its interest in the North Sea, could contain 100 million barrels of oil. It is in talks aimed at farming out part of that licence to a partner. Such deals are common in the industry.