The boss of Irish oil and gas explorer Providence Resources has hailed the start of a new era offshore Ireland.
Chief executive Tony O’Reilly said the time had come for “Ireland’s hydrocarbon potential to be realised”.
He added the spudding of the Barryroe prospect in November marked the start of the biggest ever drilling programme offshore Ireland.
It was valued at about $500million of spending between Providence and its partners and would cover six different basins.
“The spudding of an appraisal well on the Barryroe oil discovery (in the Celtic Sea) in November was a momentous occasion for the company and its shareholders,” said Mr O’Reilly.
He added: “The significance of the appraisal drilling at Barryroe should not be underestimated.
“The successful demonstration of a commercial flow rate should not only unlock the substantial value of this particular asset but also trigger a complete industry re-appraisal of Irish offshore.
“Given recent industry advances in technology and pricing, as well as Ireland’s now established infrastructure and fiscal regime, it is our firm view that the time has now come for Ireland’s hydrocarbon potential to be realised.”
His statements were made as part of an end-of-year trading statement yesterday (Thursday).
Providence said it had sold off non-core assets in the Gulf of Mexico and Nigeria for $38million, gained a new banking facility with Deutsche Bank and made its largest equity placing, raising $65.7million.
It also doubled its acreage offshore Ireland this year, with the award of 22 new blocks under the 2011 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round.
It said it was working on increasing production from its onshore UK Singleton site, to 1,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
The firm is also working on plans to develop the Baxter’s Copse oil discovery, with equal 50% shareholder Northern Petroleum.
Looking to 2012 and beyond, Providence said it had made firm well commitments on assets including Dalkey Island, Spanish Point, Dragon and Dunquin.