British exploration company Europa Oil and Gas has tentatively agreed terms with an unnamed major international oil and gas company to develop a significant portion of its Irish offshore licences.
Completion of a deal would allow for Europa and its partners to undertake a drilling campaign in waters along the west coast next year.
Ireland is a key region for the British company, with it sitting on about five billion barrels of oil and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas in six offshore licences here.
Since last summer it has been seeking a development partner for about half of its Irish assets.
Updating shareholders, Europa said that it has now agreed terms with the north-west Europe division of a major international oil and gas company and is awaiting “a final investment decision from their head office.”
The tentative agreement includes investment in Europa’s flagship Irish asset, the Inishkea gas project which lies adjacent to the Corrib field.
Corrib still provides 60% of Ireland’s gas demand, but that level will fall to around 10% over the next decade as the field slowly winds down.
Europa’s chief executive, Hugh Mackay, has previously said that the Inishkea project could significantly reduce Ireland’s reliance on gas imports.
“We are confident that we have trillion cubic feet-scale prospective resources within 10km of the Corrib gas infrastructure,” he said yesterday.
Europa has begun preparations for site surveys on the three west coast assets it is hopeful of farming out.
Europa’s shares have been down about 42% in the past 12 months but jumped around 2% on the back of its latest update.