Providence oil find lifts hopes for Irish boom

IRISH explorer Providence Resources yesterday hailed its significant oil resources off the Irish coast as a positive step forward for the country’s oil business.

The AIM-listed explorer, headed up by Tony O’Reilly Junior, the son of Irish billionaire Tony O’Reilly, said it expects to recover around 280m barrels of oil from the Basal Wealden reservoir in the Barryroe oil field, 50km off the coast of Ireland.

The exploration has established an oil recovery rate of between 17 and 43 per cent from the well, based on an exploration scenario of 41 horizontal production and 22 horizontal water injection wells over a 25 year field life. It will use a 31 per cent recovery rate for test purposes.

Dublin-based Providence added that Barryroe, which is 80 per cent owned by the Irish oil explorer and 20 per cent owned by fellow explorer Lansdowne Oil & Gas, also contains “significant gas resources”, which have not yet been explored.

Chief executive O’Reilly yesterday told City A.M.: “Ireland has a lot of oil and proven gas fields, but there haven’t been enough wells drilled. Our discovery at Barryroe is a positive development for the whole oil industry. It proves up the massive offshore potential for oil offshore Ireland.”

In July, Providence said total oil in place at Barryroe stood in a range of 1bn to 1.6bn barrels, which is substantial by Irish oil standards.

Alongside Barryroe, Providence is preparing to drill five other wells offshore Ireland, which according to O’Reilly are very “different geological plays”.

Providence shares closed up 0.72 per cent at 700p yesterday.