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Exxon Spuds Dunquin Well Offshore Ireland

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Irish explorer Providence Resources reported Tuesday that drilling has begun on the 44/23-1 well at the Dunquin exploration prospect in Frontier Licence 3/04 (FEL 3/04) off the west coast of Ireland.

Providence said that the operator, ExxonMobil, is expected to take several months to complete drilling operations using the rig Eirik Raude (DW semisub).

Providence Chief Executive Tony O'Reilly commented in a company statement:

"We are pleased to confirm that drilling operations on the Dunquin exploration well have now commenced. This is a landmark well given that it is the first to be drilled in the central part of the deep-water southern Porcupine Basin and is designed to test a new and potentially material Lower Cretaceous carbonate exploration play concept. The 44/23-1 well is the second of six wells being drilled as part of Providence's Irish concerted multi-basin, multi-well drilling program which kicked off in November 2011 with the Barryroe appraisal well."

The Dunquin well is targeting a large gas prospect that is estimated to contain some 1.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Providence will be hoping that Exxon can replicate its own success in the Celtic Sea off the south coast of Ireland, where Providence's Barryroe discovery was recently estimated to contain recoverable resources of 346 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Exxon has a 27.5-percent interest in FEL 3/04. Its partners include: Eni, with 27.5 percent; Repsol, with 25 percent; Providence, with 16 percent; and Sosina Exploration, with four percent.

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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