Providence Resources to park green energy business plan

Providence Resources to park green energy business plan

Under-pressure exploration company Providence Resources has no plans to further develop its newly-created 'green' energy subsidiary for the foreseeable future.

The company is currently awaiting vital funding from its development partners, to finance a major drilling round at its flagship Barryroe oil and gas field, off the Cork coast, next year.

However, earlier this year Providence formed an affiliate business Providence Renewables DAC to look at geothermal energy projects and ways of transforming boiling water under the sea bed into renewable electricity.

Speaking after Providence's agm in Dublin this week, chief executive Tony O'Reilly Jr said while the group is planning a strategic review of all its assets and divisions, development of the renewables arm remains some time off, and not just due to the overall company's current financial restrictions.

"Geothermal energy is really interesting. The problem is there's got to be some legislative frameworks put in place to be able to do things like that; likewise around carbon sequestration.

"I'd be interested in the long term, but we're many years away before having actual legislation to allow these things to happen. So, will it be short-term, probably not, but you never know," Mr O'Reilly said.

Providence said, back in February, that it has already been approached by companies - mainly in the service equipment, power generation and engineering areas - interested in forming a joint-venture around the renewables project.

However, Providence was not keen to progress it at such an early stage. It was also reported, at that time, that Providence could ultimately seek a separate IPO for the renewables arm or sell the division entirely.

Mr O'Reilly said he still believes in the Irish offshore, but said enough wells haven't been drilled over the years in order to truly test Ireland's resources potential. He said he hoped any change of Government in the next 12 months would not lead to a block to drilling plans at Barryroe.

"Oil and gas is still the mainstay of energy supply in this country and will continue to be; maybe the mix will change and more gas will be used. But, why any government would turn its back on the development of its own natural resources is beyond me. We're stlll going to need oil and gas; [we're saying] shop local, don't buy international," he said.

Mr O'Reilly said, this week, that he expects the long-awaited initial €8m in Barryroe funding by the September 30 payment deadline. However, he said that planned drilling at the field is unlikely to now commence before "well into 2020".

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