Irish explorer Providence Resources reported Thursday that an airborne survey carried out over its P1885 and PL 5/10 licenses in the Rathlin Basin, offshore Northern Ireland, has confirmed significant oil potential in the area.
Providence said it acquired data from a 'Full Tensor Gradiometry' (FTG) and magnetic airborne survey, carried out by Bell Geospace, and that initial processing of these data revealed the presence of five FTG anomalies that were deemed prospective for hydrocarbon exploration. The company added that the primary FTG anomaly, the 'Polaris' prospect, which lies in the Rathlin Sound just off the coast of Northern Ireland, is coincident with a significant structural feature imaged on vintage 2D seismic data. This prospect also lies structurally on-trend with the onshore 2008 Ballinlea-1 well, which successfully recovered good quality oil to the surface during testing.
Providence that further processing of its newly-acquired gravity data indicates that the Polaris feature is a large areally-extensive structure covering around 12 square miles. An initial P50 volumetric estimate, based on gravity and offset well data, indicates an in-place prospective resource potential of approximately 530 million barrels of oil for the prospect.
Providence Technical Director John O'Sullivan commented in a statement Thursday:
"We continue to be very encouraged by the results of the recent FTG programme, which has exceeded our pre-survey expectations. The Rathlin Basin has always been considered prospective due to the presence of a rich oil prone source rock, however poor seismic imaging has historically rendered it difficult to determine the basin's true hydrocarbon entrapment potential. We believe that our application of new technologies such as Full Tensor Gradiometry should allow for a complete re-assessment of this frontier basin. We have now commenced planning for a future drilling programme in 2014, which includes necessary site investigations, local permitting requirements together with regulatory and local stakeholder liaison."
Providence had plenty of success around Ireland last year, where it proved up significant resources at its Barryroe discovery off the south coast and saw progress with several other exploration projects. O'Sullivan confirmed Thursday that drilling operations planned for 2013 include the upcoming deepwater exploration well on the Dunquin prospect, an appraisal well on the Spanish Point gas condensate discovery and an exploration well in the Kish Bank Basin.
"In 2014, we plan to drill an exploration well on the Polaris Prospect and an appraisal well on the Dragon gas field," he added.
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