By Geoff Percival
British explorer, Europa Oil and Gas, is to fast-track work at its flagship Irish licence, near the Corrib field, saying the project could significantly reduce Ireland’s reliance on gas imports.
Europa is sitting on around five billion barrels of oil, and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, in seven licences off the west coast.
Recent technical work on its Inishkea licensing-option prospects, close to the Corrib field, has led Europa to class that as its flagship Irish asset.
The company now intends to fast-track further technical work, with a view to identifying “a firm drilling target” for an exploration well in 2020, although chief executive, Hugh Mackay, hasn’t ruled out a 2019 drill date, given low geological risks in the area.
“Gas is likely to be a significant component of Ireland’s future energy needs, both for electricity-generation and domestic and industrial heating,” said Mr Mackay.
“We believe 2.5tn cubic feet of undiscovered gas, initially, in place, is likely to translate into commercially significant prospective resources,” he said.
The Corrib field currently provides 60% of Ireland’s gas demand, but will diminish by 10% over the next seven years, and the Kinsale Heads field is nearing the end of its productive life.
Mr Mackay said Europa’s plans can prolong the use of the existing Corrib infrastructure, provide Ireland with some security of energy supply, and offer a significant part of Ireland’s future gas-demand needs.