Oil and gas exploration company begins survey in Barryroe field off Cork coast

Well site survey by Providence Resources expected to take up to seven days

An appraisal well at Barryroe, off the coast of Cork. Photograph:  Finbarr O’Rourke

An appraisal well at Barryroe, off the coast of Cork. Photograph: Finbarr O’Rourke

 

Irish oil and gas exploration company Providence Resources said it has begun a well site survey in its key Barryroe field off the coast of Cork.

The Marine Institute’s Celtic Voyager survey vessel will undertake a seabed, shallow geophysical and environmental baseline survey in the K area of the Barryroe field, a project that is expected to take up to seven days.

“The directors of Providence Resources believe that we have a compelling proposition with regards to the Barryroe prospect,” said executive chairman James Menton. “We continue to focus on moving ahead with this project in these challenging times of energy supply and security.”

The company has been carrying out a strategic review into how to develop its Barryroe project, presided over by former KPMG partner Mr Menton, who joined the company as chairman earlier this year. The review, encompassing both Providence’s technical strategy and its related financial strategy, is set to be completed by the end of the year and will determine the strategic plan for the development of the field.

Mr Menton assumed the role of executive chairman last week after Providence Resources’ chief executive Alan Linn quit unexpectedly after less than two years in the role. A search for a successor is under way.

Collapsed deals

Providence has seen a number of partnership deals to finance the development of Barryroe collapse. An initial farm-out agreement with a firm called Sequa Petroleum fell through in 2015 after the chosen partner failed to raise the necessary funds to participate. A subsequent agreement with a Chinese group, APEC Energy, was abandoned in 2019 after that partner missed a series of deadlines to put up the agreed cash.

A third deal with Norway’s SpotOn fell through in April, leading Providence to decide to develop the project alone.

The Barryroe field, which is thought to have more than 300 million barrels of recoverable oil, had been led by Tony O’Reilly jnr for more than two decades before he exited in late 2019. It may be the only Irish field that will ever produce oil, after Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan moved earlier this year to ban licences for new exploration and extraction.