The search for oil off the Cork coast is to be stepped up next month.
Providence Resources said it would begin a drilling programme at the Barryroe field, off the coast at Baltimore, shortly.
It was awaiting the arrival of the GSF Arctic III in the area, Tony O’Reilly, chief executive of Providence said.
Preparation work had already begun in advance of the arrival of the semi-submersible.
Previous studies had shown that the area contained 1,500 barrels of oil per day (BOPD). It is hoped to secure a flow of 1,800 BOPD a day or better.
The higher figure would make the field commercially viable.
They would also be using the latest up-to-date technology in order to keep the ‘waxy’ type oil at a temperature that would allow it to flow from reservoir to surface.
He also confirmed that Providence had been allocated increased acreage to explore by the Government in the latest round of licences.
The areal extent of the licence has been increased by approximately 9% (c. 25 square kilometre).
The licensing period, awarded by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte was for two three year periods.
The aim of the exploration was to acquire new data in order to help them understand the architecture of the reservoir.
Barryroe would be the first to be drilled at Barryoe in more than 20 years.
Providence holds a 50% interest in the licence.