Providence Resources’ much-anticipated, multi-well drilling programme at its Barryroe field off the Cork coast has been delayed.
The company has opted to give up its existing site survey permit ahead of reapplying.
The move is a direct result of environmental agency An Taisce’s legal proceedings against the Department of Climate Action and the Environment.
An Taisce is challenging the legality of the Government’s permission to grant approval to Providence subsidiary Exola to conduct a well-site survey ahead of drilling next year.
That hearing has been postponed until December 10.
Providence had expected to undertake the site survey before the end of this year, but now anticipates work starting in the first quarter of 2019.
The news saw Providence’s share price dive by over 7%, having been down almost 14% earlier in the day.
Providence said it was frustrated with the turn of events, as it had complied with all environmental and planning regulations on its side, but took the decision to delay work in order to avoid further costs and delays.
“While this rescheduling will impact the planned start of the multi-well drilling programme at Barryroe, moving it from the second quarter of 2019 into the third quarter, we believe that it does not materially impact the timing of the overall delivery of the programme,” said Providence chief executive Tony O’Reilly.
Providence announced a multi-well drill plan for Barryroe in the summer, after reaching agreement with a Chinese consortium, headed by Beijing-based investment company APEC Energy, as its long-awaited development partner at Barryroe in March.
Elsewhere, Irish-focused explorer Predator Oil and Gas — which is fronted by former Fastnet Oil and Gas boss Paul Griffiths — has been awarded an onshore exploration licence in Morocco.
Predator floated on the London Stock Exchange earlier this year, raising €1.5m to help develop assets it holds off the coasts of Ireland and Trinidad.