When thinking about where the next big oil discoveries will be made, Ireland is probably not up there on the list, however it may be time to add it.
Oil exploration in Irish waters tends to focus around the North Celtic Basin, a shallow stretch of water just off the coast of county Cork, where Providence Resources last year discovered 1.6 billion barrels of oil.
Providence has now begun to drill the Dunquin exploratory well with its partner ExxonMobil, in the deepwater Porcupine basin, some 200km off Ireland’s west coast. Hopes are high for the potential of Porcupine because it bears geological similarities to huge oil bearing fields off West Africa and French Guiana, where huge discoveries, such as the Jubilee field off Ghana, have been made in recent years.
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Both Providence and ExxonMobil say that the well will take around three months to complete, and that they hope to find an enormous reservoir of gas condensate, that could rival the world’s largest offshore discoveries from the past decade.
In 2006 the Irish government estimated that there may be as much as 10 billion barrels of oil in the area, and oil companies have started to take interest.
Unwilling to miss out on the potential that might be discovered, Kosmos Energy, partners with Tullow Oil in the Jubilee field, has struck deals to be involved in Europa Oil & Gas, and Antrim Energy’s exploration licenses in the Porcupine basin.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com