Fastnet Oil & Gas reported Friday that it has been awarded a licensing option over several blocks in the Mizzen Basin and the western end of the North Celtic Sea Basin.
The Celtic Sea is where fellow Irish explorer Providence Resources discovered the Barryroe oil and gas field that has since been estimated to contain some 346 million barrels of oil equivalent.
The firm said the Irish Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has awarded it 100 percent of licensing option 13/3 over part blocks 56/6, 56/7, 56/8, 56/9, 56/11, 56/12, 56/13 and 56/14. The licensing option will be known as the East Mizzen Licensing Option and is valid from May 1, 2013 until Sept. 30, 2014.
The licensing option requires Fastnet to reprocess a minimum of 150 square miles of existing 2D seismic data. The firm is acquiring 3D seismic at no additional cost to its current program to define up-dip drilling locations.
Fastnet noted that there were light oil shows encountered in basal Cretaceous sands, analogous to the Barryroe tested interval, in the 56/12-1 well drilled by Esso/Marathon in 1975. The firm also noted that the area of the licensing option is favorably located for the development of prospective Triassic reservoirs sealed by salt.
Fastnet said the East Mizzen Licensing Option can be extended by a further 18 months subject to a satisfactory work program being agreed with the Irish government. Meanwhile, the firm has a farm-out process underway, claiming that there is significant industry interest in its Mizzen and East Mizzen portfolio of prospective structures.
Fastnet Managing Director Paul Griffiths commented in a company statement:
"We are delighted to have added to our inventory of material prospective structures in the Mizzen area offshore Ireland. This has allowed us to capitalise on the interest being shown by the industry in our farmout process in this particularly under-explored, yet highly prospective, basin. It has also allowed us to maximise the value of our on-going 3D seismic acquisition by creating 'running room' for potential [farm-in candidates] that have identified the Mizzen Basin as a new emerging shallow water exploration province offshore Ireland.
"Fastnet is one of the largest acreage holders in this area contributing to creating the conditions necessary to develop competition for acreage in an area that previously lacked industry focus. This situation mirrors our 'first mover' strategy in Morocco."
Oil sector analysts at London-based investment bank finnCap commented in a brief research note that the acreage increases Fastnet's footprint in the Mizzen and North Celtic Sea Basins and exposure to the Lower/Basal Cretaceous play fairway that has been proven by the Barryroe field, while Triassic reservoirs offers secondary targets. The license award "complements the existing acreage" but closing one or more farm-out deals will be "crucial" for the firm, finnCap added.
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