Initial results from a seabed survey of the Newgrange Prospect, offshore Ireland, "support the potential presence of a working petroleum system", according to Dr John O'Sullivan, technical director of Providence Resources PLC (LON:PVR).
An assessment of the area was carried out by Gardline's M/V Kommandor exploration vessel, which identified over 100 seabed pockmark features.
While Providence conceded there may be a number of reasons for their existence, it has concluded they are most likely to be the result of "fluid seepage from the underlying geology".
"We are especially pleased with the results as we had hoped to see some evidence of fluid seepage given the shallow nature of the Newgrange prospect," said O'Sullivan.
The boat has now begun the process of demobilisation following the successful acquisition of data, which should provide enough information to make a permitting application to drill an exploration well at Newgrange.
In the same announcement, the company confirmed it and its partner, Sosina Exploration, which owns 20% of the licence, are in negotiations with "third parties" looking to take a slice of the project - and by extension help fund the expensive business of drilling.
"These new data will no doubt provide further momentum to those discussions," added Providence's technical director.
The Newgrange Prospect is contained within Frontier Exploration Licence 6/14, 260km off south-west Ireland. It sits beneath 1,000 metres of water.