Petrel accepts new licensing options offshore Ireland

  • Business & Finance

Petrel Resources, an Irish based exploration and production company, has formally accepted two new Licensing Options (LOs) awarded in the Porcupine Basin, offshore Ireland, as part of phase two of the 2015 Atlantic Ireland licensing round. 

The second phase of the 2015 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round, held last Friday, saw 14 new LOs awarded offshore Ireland. The first phase of the Licensing Round was held in February of this year.

Petrel announced on the same day that the company was awarded two separate LOs, one in the north-western Porcupine License Option and the other including the entirety of Block 45/27.

The company said on Friday that it formally accepted the two awarded Licensing Options, both of which are 100 percent owned and operated by Petrel.

The licenses have two-year terms with agreed work programs following which Petrel has the option to convert to Frontier Exploration Licences.

Licensing Option 16/24, in the North-Eastern Porcupine Basin, is a considerable grant of 664 sq km encompassing the entirety of Blocks 26/26, and 35/01, as well as available parts of 26/27 and 35/02.

Major discoveries in the Flemish Pass basin, offshore eastern Canada, have re-focussed industry attention on the Upper Jurassic, particularly in South Porcupine, while along the basin margins the exciting potential in the Lower Cretaceous, prolific in West Africa, also remains undrilled. According to Petrel, LO 16/24 has potential for both Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous prospects.

Licensing Option 16/25 is in the Eastern Porcupine Basin, closer to shore, and encompasses 260 sq. km of the entirety of Block 45/27.

The company said that this area was covered by a 3D seismic program acquired by Kosmos Energy in 2013.

David Horgan, Petrel Director, said, “The resounding success of the 2015 Bid Round has transformed the Irish Atlantic, and especially the Porcupine Basin.  When we first applied for acreage in 2011 it was a lonely path.  Financial markets were sceptical and the industry unconvinced.  We have persisted with our work on and evangelising of the Porcupine Basin.”

 There were three discoveries in the Porcupine Basin in the period 1978-1981, of which the Spanish Point discovery is due to be re-drilled by Cairn.  Recent technological advances, better understanding of geology and higher average oil and gas prices have opened up the Irish Atlantic.  Previous oil price falls after 1986, and again after 1998, led to operator departures and a drying up of interest. 

However, Horgan said that this latest oil price drop of 54% since mid-2014 has not diminished explorer interest.  Instead, he said, more and bigger companies are bidding larger work programmes.

“In the 2015 Bid Round, 43 applications were made by 17 companies but only 28 offers made.  Less than half of the Porcupine Basin acreage applied for was offered,” Horgan said.

He said the company’s plans to apply new techniques and lessons learnt elsewhere to the new ground, “approaching innovative partners open to different ideas, and we hope to expand our Porcupine Basin presence in the future.”

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