By Geoff Percival
British exploration company Europa Oil and Gas is looking to fast-track the development of its key Irish-based assets — either through traditional farm-out opportunities or via fresh financial backing — in the next 12 months.
The London-based company — which is sitting on approximately five billion barrels of oil and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas across six licences off the west coast of Ireland — has also urged industry players to collectively raise their game and not take anything for granted to counteract the threat being posed by an opposition party bill targeting the banning of oil exploration in Irish waters.
This bill is currently being debated at Oireachtas committee-stage.
During the summer, Europa launched a farm-out process for three licences, comprising half of its Irish-based assets.
A mix of majors, super-majors, and large independents are currently in the data room sizing up those assets.
In addition, the company is looking to open the data room on its flagship Inishkea block of prospects, located in the Slyne Basin close to the Corrib gas field, in December having provided a detailed update on the prospect at the Atlantic Ireland conference in Dublin at the end of this month.
The company may opt for two farm-in partners to develop the Inishkea block.
Europa still hasn’t ruled out drilling in Irish waters next year.
Chief executive Hugh Mackay said that farm-out partners for the three licences in the Porcupine Basin are being targeted by the end of this year while a development partner for Inishkea is being aimed for within the first half of next year.
He said Europa may introduce financial backers which would allow the company to proceed without drilling partners.