By Geoff Percival
British explorer Europa Oil and Gas has launched a farm-out process for three of its licences located off the west coast, comprising half of its Irish-based assets.
The company is sitting on around five billion barrels of oil and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas across six licences in Irish waters. Scottish explorer Cairn Energy already partners Europa on one of its licences, but Europa is now actively seeking development partners for three more following strong results from recent seismic studies.
“We promised half a dozen drillable prospects [in Irish waters] by the end of 2018, now we have four. We now believe we have the data to convince substantive farm-inees of the compelling case to take these four licences forward towards drilling,” said Europa’s chief executive Hugh Mackay.
Complementing the three licences in the south Porcupine Basin, is the Inishkea block of prospects in the Slyne Basin, close to the Corrib gas field, seen as being Europa’s flagship prospect. Drilling at that prospect is planned for the middle of next year, subject to funding availability, and Europa has been seeking a development partner for it for some time.
“Our prospects are tightened up and de-risked. We now have firm drilling targets with clearly positive economics on each licence,” said Mr Mackay.
In April, Mr Mackay said that he was confident the technical work programmes Europa had been running across its licences, of late, would result in additional farm-out agreements being secured.
He also said the Inishkea project was being fast-tracked, adding that it could significantly reduce Ireland’s reliance on gas imports.
Meanwhile, Dublin-based exploration company PetroNeft Resources has said it is examining “a number of options” in relation to maximising value for its shareholders, after noting media speculation about the potential disposal of its Licence 61 asset in Russia.
“This process is at a very early stage and there is no certainty that any transaction will be completed,” the company said.
Last month, the company - which is solely focused, via two licensing blocks, on the Tomsk region of Siberia — said it was in “advanced discussions” with unnamed third parties over the provision of additional funding, but was also considering selling all or part of its less- developed Licence 67 asset to create longer-term funding.