AIM quoted Europa was notably the only small cap explorer among the initial licence awards – with other new acreage holders named as Eni, BP, ExxonMobil, Nexen, Scotia, Statoil and Woodside Petroleum.
“We are delighted with the award of this licensing option, particularly given the strength of the competing companies,” said Hugh Mackay, Europa chief executive.
“This is an endorsement of the strong technical work that supported our bids.”
In a statement the company said it understands it will shortly receive a formal letter of award from the Irish authorities, at which point the LO will be given a reference number and maps showing the new awards will be published by the government.
It will own 100% of the new acreage. The LO lasts for two years, and converts into Frontier Exploration Licence (FEL) once committed work programmes have been completed.
Europa highlights that it has further applications in Ireland’s current licensing round, which was split into two tranches and the remaining awards are expected in mid-May. The first tranche of awards was timed in order to enable certain work programmes, involving seismic surveying, to be carried out this summer.
It also told investors that formal documentation for the transfer of Kosmos Energy’s interests in FEL 2/13 and 3/13 is currently being prepared for approval by the Irish authorities, and as such it will shortly retain 100% of those assets.
The company seeks a new partner, ideally a ‘major or mid-cap’ oil company, to help take forward FEL 2/13 and 3/13 where ‘billion barrel potential’ has already been outlined. Europa highlighted that it officially opened its farm-out data room for the process on February 11, and it said it is pleased with the initial response from ‘target companies’
It is anticipated that the new high profile licence awards, and the introduction of high calibre new entrants, could be a boost to the partnering process.
Mackay added: “We are pleased that major and mid-cap oil companies are now taking acreage positions around our licences and we feel this is providing validation of our long held belief that the South Porcupine Basin is underexplored and has the potential to hold substantial hydrocarbon reserves.
“The success of this licensing round indicates that the Porcupine is no longer under appreciated.
“We have made other applications that remain live and look forward to the announcement of the second phase of awards during May.”