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Barryroe was envisaged as Ireland’s first commercial offshore oil project, though adaptation in 2020 may see gas elements of the project become more prominent.
Providence is now free to enter agreements with other partners, and, for now, it retains an 80% stake in the undeveloped field.
In February, Providence confirmed that a new farm-out process is being conducted and Providence noted that, with the inclusion of gas into the development approach, several additional companies not included within the initial process have expressed interest in the project.
These potential new entrants to the process have now been invited into the ‘data room’.
More appraisal planned for Barryroe
The prior Chinese farm-out and development plan was centred on the project’s oil potential, but, according to Providence, Barryroe also has a meaningful gas element – which may have strategic implications for the company, Ireland and the government.
Providence today noted that in the past Barryroe has been independently verified as containing large volumes of both gas and oil.
The appraisal plan now being drawn up by the company, potentially comprising two wells, is intended to confirm Barryroe as either (a) a large oil field with a gas cap or (b) a large gas field surrounded by an oil rim.
It is anticipated that the programme would also seek to confirm reservoir continuity and potentially explore a previously untested Jurassic age prospect deeper beneath the Barryroe reservoirs.
Independent estimates indicate a mid-case for recoverable hydrocarbons at 346mln barrels oil equivalent, the company noted.
Providence also said it would consider a possible nearby infrastructure redevelopment project, that could potentially deliver a carbon dioxide storage solution - utilising depleted gas fields - which would “minimise the carbon footprint of a Barryroe development”.
West coast exploration under review
Providence was among the early movers into Ireland’s Atlantic exploration frontier, though notably even the broader region is still awaiting its first successful exploration well.
Several well have been drilled over the years, by Providence and by others, and whilst evidence of hydrocarbon systems have been observed no result to date has confirmed anything of commercial merit.
Following on from its management change in late 2019, Providence launched a company wide review of its assets and operations.
In February’s update, the company noted that all exploration licences are being re-assessed based on cost and relevance to the new business model.
It also confirmed that at Dunquin South exploration project partner ENI has decided to exit, and it is Providence’s view that the reservoir is less likely to be breached than the Dunquin North structure, which was the subject of an unsuccessful well back in 2013.
Providence intends to launch a farm-out process to seek a new partner once ENI’s exit is complete.
The company did, however, confirm that it is in the process to voluntary surrender the Diablo exploration project.
Back in November, Providence retained a larger stake in the Avalon exploration prospect as a result of Total’s decision to exit the project. Providence will now retain an 80% interest in FEL 2/19 and it will now be the operator of the project.
At that time, then chief executive Tony O’Reilly told investors that Providence would continue the evaluation of data from Avalon and potentially seek a new farm-out partner.
In January, Providence named Alan Linn as the company’s new chief executive.
Linn joins from UK onshore shale firm Third Energy and he has previously held senior positions at Lasmo, Cairn Energy, Tullow Oil, ROC Oil, and with Afren during its restructuring. He is a qualified chemical engineer and lives in Ireland.
“The opportunity to lead the commercialisation of an oil and gas field with the potential of Barryroe is very compelling,” Linn said.
Providence chairman Pat Plunkett added: “I am pleased that Alan has agreed to join Providence at this time of significant opportunity within the company.
“He has the ideal mix of operational and strategic experience for the position, and will bring valuable insights to the board as we rebuild the business after the challenging past year.
“Alan recognizes the considerable potential of the company’s assets, in particular Barryroe, and I am sure he will enhance our options in taking this exciting project to the next stage.