Providence provided an update on its upcoming appraisal drilling program in the North Celtic Sea Basin, offshore southern Ireland.
- The Barryroe partners have been awarded Standard Exploration License 1/11 (License) over the Barryroe oil discovery by the Irish Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD, for a period of up to six years, split into two three year phases. This License is a successor authorization to Licensing Option 08/1. The areal extent of the License has been increased by approximately 9% (c. 25 sq km) to cover additional acreage with identified resource potential. The partners have committed to the drilling of at least one well during the first phase, which will be fulfilled by the upcoming 48/24-J well. Providence holds a 50% interest in the License and operates on behalf of its partners San Leon Energy Plc (30%) and Lansdowne Oil & Gas Plc (20%).
- The 48/24-J well location and program have been finalized using a fast-track 3D seismic volume. The planned well will offset and primarily appraise the previous Marathon Oil operated 48/24-3 (1990) well, which tested c. 45o API light sweet oil at c. 1,600 BOPD from Base Cretaceous sands. Using the latest technology, the 48/24-J well is planned to acquire a modern set of wire-line logs, together with an orientated conventional core through the primary objective. These new data will be important in understanding the reservoir architecture, inverting the 3D seismic volume and defining the resource base for this reservoir interval. In addition, it is planned to test the well using vacuum insulated tubing (VIT), which has proven to be key when dealing with high pour point crudes such as those seen in the original well. Data in overlying secondary objectives will also be acquired as these have tested at rates of c. 1,500 BOPD from two previous wells on the Barryroe structure. The objective will be to demonstrate commercial flow rates of 1,800 BOPD or better from this vertical well.
- Providence now expects to commence drilling operations on the 48/24-J Barryroe appraisal well in mid-November 2011. Providence and its partners are awaiting the delivery of the GSF Arctic III rig, which is currently finishing a work program for another operator in the North Sea. Pre-spud activities for the Barryroe well have already commenced, with tangible item mobilization and other logistics activities progressing to plan.
Commenting on the news, Tony O'Reilly, Providence's CEO, said, "This appraisal well is the first in Providence's multi-well, multi-year drilling program. In addition to being a very important confirmation well for the future development of the Barryroe oilfield, this well also heralds the renaissance of major drilling activities offshore Ireland. As the first well in more than twenty years to be drilled on this accumulation, we are fortunate to be able to avail of today's technology and market conditions to advance this project and in doing so, endeavor to deliver the first commercial oil development offshore Ireland. We look forward to updating shareholders on the progress of this program over the coming months."