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Providence Resources secures rig for Irish offshore drilling programme

The primary objective of the 2011 drilling programme will be to further appraise the Barryroe oil accumulation. Based on the current rig schedule, the spud date is expected to be late August 2011. Well site surveys were recently successfully completed.
Providence Resources secures rig for Irish offshore drilling programme

Oil and gas explorer Providence Resources PLC  (LON:PVR) said it has secured a semi-submersible rig for its well programme in the Celtic Sea during the summer of 2011.

This forms part of Providence's previously announced multi-year, multi-basin drilling programme offshore Ireland.

Providence, as operator, has hired semi-submersible rig GSF ARCTIC III. The rig contract provides for a minimum 54 day period with options to extend.

The primary objective of the 2011 drilling programme will be to further appraise the Barryroe oil accumulation. Based on the current rig schedule, the spud date is expected to be late August 2011. Well site surveys were recently successfully completed.

Lansdowne Oil & Gas (LON:LOGP) holds a 20 percent interest in the Barryroe appraisal well

Earlier this month, Providence sold its assets in the Gulf of Mexico for up to US$22 million, allowing it to focus on the next, potentially company transforming steps in its development.

Providence is fully funded to carry out a two-year, US$120 million programme (up to US$500 million gross) of drilling that could utterly transform the company’s prospects – and those of the Republic as an oil and gas producing nation.

It plans to drill up to ten wells (including sidetracks) in six separate basins and, if all goes to schedule, the programme will be largely complete by the end of 2012.

The campaign kicks off with a double header this summer as the group begins the development of the Barryroe and Hook Head oil discoveries in the Celtic Sea.

Following shortly after Barryroe is a re-drill of Hook Head, which was first discovered in 1971. Here Providence owns 72.5 percent and like at Barryroe, it is the operator of the field.

From these two development plays, the group will then move on to two exploration plays – Dalkey Island, off the coast of Dublin and Rathlin Island, off the north-eastern corner of Northern Ireland.

Moving into next year and the emphasis changes from east coast to the west, and Providence is heading very much further offshore in the pursuit of oil and gas.

Spanish Point is a gas condensate discovery located 125 miles offshore. It was found in 1981 when Ireland simply did not need gas in the quantities thought to be contained at Spanish Point and there was no infrastructure by which to exploit it – that has all now changed.

Providence estimates there are 200 million barrels of oil equivalent. It owns a 56 percent stake, which will fall to 32 percent when partner Chrysaor formally agrees to drill two wells there.

Although the actual drilling won’t happen until spring/summer 2012, privately-owned Chrysaor must exercise its option by March 14.

Those who follow Providence closely will know that Dunquin is the big daddy of all its exploration projects, and it has an all-star roster.

ExxonMobil is a 40 percent shareholder and the operator, while ENI farmed in for a 40 percent stake in 2009. SOSINA holds 4 percent, leaving Providence with 16 percent.

Previous industry intelligence suggests that recoverable estimates are near 1.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent and that apparently is only ascribing volume to 20 percent of the known area.

Work is expected to get underway on Dunquin in mid-2012 and will be followed in the autumn of next year by an appraisal well on the Dragon Field, which is equidistant between Wales and Ireland.

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