Providence shares dive as partner pulls plug

Providence shares dive as partner pulls plug

Shares in exploration company Providence Resources plummeted 12% on it losing another high profile development partner for one of its offshore Irish drilling prospects.

French oil major Total has relinquished its 50% shareholding in the Avalon exploration prospect in the Porcupine Basin off the west coast, with that holding returning to Providence.

The Tony O’Reilly Jr-headed explorer now owns 80% of the prospect, with London-based Sosina Exploration controlling the remaining 20%.

Mr O’Reilly said Providence and Sosina will continue to evaluate data surrounding Avalon, with a view to starting a fresh farm-out process for a new development partner.

The move confirms Total’s exit from Irish waters; the French company having last month announced its intention to surrender a separate exploration licence it shared with Providence.

Earlier this year, Providence relinquished its highly-rated Newgrange prospect off the west coast having been unable to find a development partner for the asset.

It remains in search of a partner for its flagship Barryroe oil and gas field, off the Cork coast in the Celtic Sea, after promised funding from its previous Chinese partners failed to materialise.

The Government recently said that all future licensing rounds in Irish waters will only be for natural gas and will be closed to oil exploration. However, licence applications already approved will be allowed to proceed and will not be included in its planned phased ban on oil exploration.

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