Cairn Gets Approval for Spanish Point Farm-In

Independent explorer Cairn Energy reported Tuesday that the Irish government has approved Cairn's farm-in as operator with a 38-percent working interest in two exploration licenses in the Porcupine Basin off the west coast of Ireland.

The two licenses are FEL 2/04, which includes the Spanish Point discovery, and FEL 4/08. Cairn said that its farm-in to Licensing Option 11/2, covering more than 1,000 square miles, was also approved.

The farm-in was first announced in early May, when Cairn struck a deal with Irish explorers Chrysaor and Sosina Exploration. The deal sees Chrysaor retain a 26-percent interest in the licenses with Sosina hanging on to four percent. Providence Resources sees its stake in the licenses remain at 32 percent.

Cairn also announced Tuesday that it has arranged a deal to secure a drilling rig for the Spanish Point appraisal well. Cairn and its partners plan to use the Blackford Dolphin (DW semisub) rig – an enhanced H3 deep-water semi-submersible drilling rig. The rig is expected to be mobilized for the Spanish Point drill during the second quarter of 2014.

The news is further evidence that offshore activity is about to accelerate off the west coast of Ireland, after Providence Resources' success with its Barryroe discovery off the south coast in early 2012.

Earlier in July, Chrysaor reported that it had raised $175 million to finance a "high impact portfolio" of exploration assets off the west coast of Ireland, including the Spanish Point appraisal campaign.

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 jmainwaring@rigzone.com

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