Site survey vessel arrives at Barryroe field

But funding from APEC has yet to arrive, leading to new extension

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


Oil and gas explorer Providence Resources has confirmed the vessel hired to carry out a site survey ahead of a planned drilling programme at the Barryroe field is now in place.

Gardline’s M/V Kommandor survey vessel will undertake a seabed debris clearance, environmental baseline and habitat assessment site survey over the area of the Barryroe field within site exploration licence 1/11. The survey is expected to take about three weeks.

The programme provides for a minimum of two locations to be surveyed, with the scope to increase that once the APEC funding has been received. Providence has been awaiting a long-delayed $10 million from its Chinese backers, and this week it extended the deadline for the receipt of funds yet again.

Providence agreed in March last year to give Chinese company APEC a 50 per cent stake in its Barryroe project off the Cork coast, which is estimated to have 311 million barrels of recoverable oil, in exchange for the Beijing-based company covering half of the cost of an associated $200 million five-well drilling programme.

The deal also covered APEC lending Providence and Lansdowne Oil & Gas, which has a 10 per cent stake in the field, money to cover their costs. However, despite a number of deadline extensions, the money has yet to land in the account. A further extension was granted until September 9th.

The company on Tuesday it was “actively exploring” alternative financing arrangements, and said if the money has not been received by that date it reserves the right to end exclusivity with the Chinese company “while also considering all legal remedies available to it against APEC for contract non-performance”.