ExxonMobil has lined up a drilling rig to drill an exploration well offshore Ireland.
The firm has signed a letter of intent with Ocean Rig UDW for the Eirik Raude semi-submersible rig, project partner Providence Resources said.
The exploration well on Dunquin, in Irish Frontier Exploration Licence 3/04, will start in the first quarter of 2013 and could take about six months, added Providence.
Chief executive Tony O’Reilly said: “We are extremely pleased to confirm that this letter of intent has now been agreed, and that drilling operations at Dunquin are being planned to start in quarter one 2013.
“The Dunquin well forms an important part of Providence’s ongoing Irish multi-basin, multi-well drilling programme.”
ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Ireland (Offshore) owns a 27.5% stake and operates the 3/04 licence.
Its partners are Eni Ireland, also with 27.5%, Repsol Exploracion Irlanda 25%, Providence Resources 16.0% and Sosina Exploration 4%.