While it is Providence Resources that leads the field offshore Ireland, on November 12 it was tiny Petrel Resources that grabbed stock market attention with its prediction of a 1billion barrels prospect to the west of Ireland.
The company’s share price rocketed more than 400% to 26.5p that day, with misinformed headlines stating that the company had made an oil discovery, which it had not; rather than merely the prospect of oil.
Petrel used last month’s Atlantic Ireland Conference to tell the world that detailed modelling had outlined the huge prospect plus others on Quadrant 35 on the South Porcupine Basin.
It claimed that the hydrocarbons (if present) should be accessible using just one well designed to penetrate a sequence of vertically stacked targets.
Quad 35: Stacked targets have been mapped at Eocene (Lower Tertiary), Lower Cretaceous and locally Jurassic levels. This facilitates drilling and testing of several targets with one well.
The company said of the Eocene target that deltaic sand bodies lie in an ideal position for the entrapment of northward migrating hydrocarbons, generated from mature Middle/Upper Jurassic and possibly Lower Cretaceous source rocks. An up-dip seal appears to be provided by marine flooding mudstone deposits.
Drill depths to the top of the Eocene sand sequence are about 2,500m subsea, in water depths of 700-800m.
Thick reservoir quality deltaic and shallow marine sandstones have been drilled in earlier wells in the region.
Mapped sandbodies have the capability to host in-place reserves in excess of one billion barrels
Turning to the Lower Cretaceous target, a large mounded feature with a four-way dip closure has been identified.
The large mounded feature directly overlies Upper Jurassic strata with proven mature source rocks.
Further targets have also been identified in Quad 45 . . . again stacked.
Meanwhile, the Irish government has determined to see a new seismic survey carried out early next year over those areas of the Irish Atlantic Frontier basins with proven petroleum systems but poor to non-existent seismic data coverage.
Fergus O’Dowd, minister of state at the Department of Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources, told delegates at the Atlantic Ireland 2012 Conference that although the response to last year’s Atlantic Margin Licensing Round was positive, large areas on offer in the frontier basins received no applications, despite their having proven petroleum systems.
The lack of seismic data is thought to be a root cause of this failure.
O’Dowd said, “After careful consideration and consultation with the industry, the Department designed a major state-of-the-art seismic acquisition programme requiring the use of its own modest research funds together with significant leveraged co-funding.
“The aim of the survey is to provide a regional grid of high-quality seismic data over our frontier basins.
“The tendering process for a seismic contractor is now under way and that acquisition is planned to take place for 2013.
“Obviously this is a very large undertaking but we are delighted that Eni has agreed to provide strong technical support and operatorship for the survey, with the close involvement of the department’s technical staff at all stages. The new survey is a huge step forward and should go a long way to revealing the true potential of Ireland’s frontier basins.
“The data should allow resource potential to be predicted with much greater confidence and enable both the industry and the government to adequately evaluate future licensing opportunities.”