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Opinion: Big Irish Atlantic hopes riding on Druid, Drombeg probe

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Jeremy Cresswell, emeritus editor of Energy Voice

Irish independent Providence Resources has finally spudded exploration well 53/6-A on the FEL 2/14 licence in the southern Porcupine basin located to the west of Ireland.

This is later than had been planned. However, it was only last month that Providence managed to reduce its risk on the Druid and Drombeg targets.

As reported by Energy Voice at the time, the company struck an option deal to farm down its 56% stake in licence FEL 2/14 to French major Total. FEL 2/14 contains the Paleocene Druid, Lower Cretaceous Drombeg and Jurassic Diablo prospects.

If Total exercises the option, it will take a 35% working interest in the three prospects for a total cost of $27million, of which $22million would go to Providence.

Total would also become the operator of the three prospects if it farms in, but would need regulatory approval from the Irish Government.

For the time being, Providence continues to hold 56% of the licence while Cairn Energy holds 30% and Sosina 16%.

Assuming the drillship Stena IceMAX achieves success with Druid, the plan is to drill down further to penetrate Drombeg. The prize is potentially very large.

Read: Providence books Stena IceMAX for Porcupine licence drilling

This isn’t the only well planned for the Irish Atlantic Frontier near-term. Earlier this year, Serica, was granted a two-year extension by Dublin covering acreage where the company hopes to attract a partner to drill in the Rockall Basin.

The company holds frontier exploration licences 1/09 (Slyne Basin) and 4/13 (Rockall Trough) solus.

Large structural closures have been mapped on high-quality 3D seismic data in acreage adjacent to the Dooish discovery of 2003; moreover, Serica says its Muckish prospect located beneath 1,500m of water is drill-ready with several additional, associated structural prospects plus stratigraphic upside.

This would test two prospects – the shallower prospect is a Cretaceous fan defined by seismic anomaly and analogous to other structures identified in the Porcupine basin.

It overlies a deeper target, a structural fault block of Permian/Triassic age, analogous to the nearby Dooish discovery, which was originally drilled by Shell (heritage Enterprise Oil acreage).

Located 30km north of Dooish, the target block is tilted and clearly defined using 3D seismic data. Additional prospects potentially offering significant upside are Muckish East, Mackoght, Midleton & West Midleton

Muckish is a tilted fault-block structure analogous to Dooish containing estimated P50 recoverables of around 1.285trillion cubic feet of wet gas plus 85million barrels of condensate. The P10-P50 ranges are 417billion to 5.28trillion cu ft of gas and 18-227million barrels of condensate.

Only three exploration wells have ever been drilled in Irish sector of the Rockall Trough (Basin).

Dooish (12/2-1,1z drilled in 2003) proved the existence of a hydrocarbon system and the current reserves estimate stands at 265billion cu ft of gas and 17million barrels of 45Deg API condensate (Shell, 2010).

The find was not tested though samples were taken and pressures evaluated. Log analysis indicated good quality reservoir of average 14% porosity.

License 1/09 contains a large structural prospect named Boyne, which is also a Dooish analogue. Here Serica is seeking a partner to drill a well to prove the concept, ideally as part of the same drilling program as for 4/13.

Boyne is located down-dip of the Bandon discovery of 2009 and is thought to have potential resources of about 115million barrels of oil.

The 27/4-1,1z Bandon well encountered a 50m oil column, within high-quality Lower Jurassic reservoir sandstones. The oil was moderately biodegraded, with a gravity of 16Deg API.

However, the nearest reservoir analogue to Boyne is the producing Corrib field, some 40km to the north, which contains over 1trillion cu ft of dry gas within the Sherwood Sandstone.

The company plans further work on the licenses to assess the potential for productive fractured basement, as proven by Hurricane in the West of Shetland sector.

Finally on the Irish Atlantic Frontier, a French seismic survey contractor has completed a 3D seismic survey over FEL 3/04, also located in the southern Porcupine Basin.

The 1,800sq km survey was booked by licence operator Eni and conducted by the CGG Oceanic Caspian.

The main objective of the survey is to understand the hydrocarbon potential of the undrilled Lower Cretaceous Dunquin South carbonate exploration prospect.

A further objective is to assess the nature and hydrocarbon potential of the 700sq km Dunquin Ridge which underlies both Dunquin carbonate build-ups and which was not penetrated by the initial exploration well of four years ago and which was a failure.

FEL 3/04 is operated by Eni Ireland (36.913%) on behalf of its partners Repsol (33.557%), Providence (26.846%) and Sosina (2.684%).

Druid

• Comprises two fans located about 1,750m BML (below the sea floor) and structurally up-dip from a potential significant fluid escape feature from the underlying pre-Cretaceous Diablo Ridge
• Has cumulative in-place un-risked prospective resources of 3.18billion barrels oil equivalent.
• Pre-stack seismic inversion and regional rock physics analysis shows Druid is consistent with a highly porous (30%) and high net-gross, light oil-filled sandstone reservoir system up to 85m thick
• Geomechanical analysis using regional well and high resolution seismic velocity data indicates that Druid is normally pressured and the top seal is intact

Drombeg

• Located around 2,750m BML and structurally up-dip from a potential significant fluid escape feature from the underlying pre-Cretaceous Diablo Ridge
• In-place un-risked prospective resource of 1.9billion boe.
• Pre-stack seismic inversion and regional rock physics analysis shows Drombeg is consistent with a highly porous (20%), light oil-filled sandstone reservoir system up to 45m thick
• A depth conformant Class II AVO anomaly is present and spectral decomposition is reflective of a large sand-rich submarine fan system with no significant internal faulting, and supports an up-dip trap mechanism
• Geomechanical analysis using regional well and high resolution seismic velocity data indicates that Drombeg is over-pressured with an intact top seal

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