Coalition to get Exxon exploration data
Confidential material in report on results from firm’s drilling activities off west coast
ExxonMobil’s report to the Coalition on its findings is confidential. Photograph: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters
Oil giant ExxonMobil is due to report to the Government shortly on its recent drilling activities off the west coast.
The multinational and its partners recently announced that it intends to abandon an exploration well it had been drilling in the Dunquin licence about 150km off the Kerry coast after finding just residual quantities of oil.
The company is continuing to study the well results and is writing licence reports which it will provide to the Petroleum Affairs Division of the Department of Energy and Natural Resources.
The reports are required by the licence terms and will detail such things as the work carried out and what it found.
The material is confidential and will not be published.
Exxon’s rig, the Eirik Raude, is still in position in the Dunquin licence which is in the south Porcupine Basin.
The company is working on plugging the well before moving on. Exxon has a 36 per cent interest in the Cuchulain licence in a neighbouring block to the west of Dunquin, whose main shareholder and operator is Italian player Eni which has 60 per cent.
Eni and Irish exploration group Providence Resources also have interests in the Dunquin licence.
Following Exxon’s announcement last month, Providence, which has stakes in four licences in the area, said Exxon’s findings were encouraging.
Its chief executive, Tony O’Reilly jnr, said the presence of residual oil – the remains of a reservoir that has drained away – vindicates his firm’s position that the area’s geology indicates it could contain commercial quantities of oil and gas.
Fresh wave of exploration While Exxon’s move was seen as a setback for hopes of a fresh wave of exploration in Irish waters, several other consortiums have either converted licence options into full exploration permits or are in the process of doing so.
London-listed Europa Oil and Gas has converted two options into full exploration permits, a move that means it could lead to exploratory drilling.
Earlier this year it signed up Dallas-based Kosmos as a partner in its Irish licences, both of which are in the Porcupine Basin. Between six and eight other groups are working on covering their licence options.
The Irish Offshore Operators’s Association said that this could lead to an increase in drilling in Irish waters over the next three to four years. But oil and gas exploration in these waters has delivered poor results over the last half century.
The odds against striking commercial quantities here of either are 32/1, compared to 5/1 in the UK and 6/1 in Norway.