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Shares surge on Irish oil find

Geoff Percival - Irish Examiner

Shares in British explorer Europa Oil and Gas climbed 6% yesterday on the back of the company effectively doubling the reserve estimate at one of its chief prospects off the west coast of Ireland.

Europa has been one of the most active players in Irish waters in recent times and currently has seven licences off the west coast, holding an estimated combined four billion barrels of oil equivalent. Earlier this week, its deal to bring in Scottish explorer Cairn Energy as a development partner for part of its asset base was formally approved by the Irish Government.

Yesterday, Europa said it remains in talks with potential partners for the rest of its asset base. This includes frontier exploration licence 2/13 (FEL 2/13) in the southern Porcupine Basin, which Europa estimates holds potential for 1.12 billion barrels of oil – up from an earlier estimate of 595 million barrels. Some 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas is also included in the estimate.

That substantial upgrade to estimates comes as a result of what Europa calls an investigation of the “deeper prospectivity” of the licence. That work has found four new potential drill targets – to go along with the four existing ones – which have been classed as being “significant prospects”.

“The next phase of work on this licence will involve reprocessing the existing 3D seismic to deliver better definition, better depth control and to enable de- risking sufficient to upgrade the prospects to drill-ready status,” said Europa’s chief executive Hugh Mackay.

“[The] Atlantic Ireland [region] is about to enter a drilling phase, which we believe may be sustained over several years. Our objective is to deliver six drill-ready prospects with which to trail-blaze or fast-follow to success. All our drill-ready prospects will be potential company-makers,” he added.

Providence Resources, in conjunction with Cairn Energy, is due to drill at two prospects in the Porcupine Basin this summer. Targeting a combined five billion barrels of oil, it will mark the first exploration drill in Irish waters for four years. Europa’s bosses have previously said that any successful drill would be “game-changing” for the region.

Posted Date: 
30 April 2017