UK oil company hoping to drill off Ireland next year

File photo

By Geoff Percival

Europa Oil and Gas, the British exploration company active off the west coast of Ireland, is looking to drill at its flagship asset close to the Corrib gas field next year.

The company is sitting on around 5bn barrels of oil and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas across seven Irish-based licences. Europa recently fast-tracked work at the Inishkea block of prospects and is targeting a 2019 drill date, ahead of which it aims to get a farm-out/development partner on board.

Inishkea is viewed as being a relatively inexpensive drill project, as it lies in shallow water and could utilise existing Corrib infrastructure.

Europa chief executive Hugh Mackay recently said Inishkea could significantly reduce Ireland’s reliance on gas imports.

Europa is currently working at increasing the number of drill-ready prospects in its Irish portfolio from two to six by the end of this year.

The company remains confident of landing further farm-out partners, after selling 70% of one licence, for $6m (€5.2m), to Scottish explorer Cairn Energy last year.

Elsewhere, Dublin-based explorer United Oil and Gas has provisionally been awarded two licensing blocks in the North Sea in the UK’s latest offshore licensing round.

United is headed by former Tullow Oil executives and floated in London last year

The award is United’s third block of licences in the UK and includes the Crown oil discovery, which could contain up to 16m barrels of oil.

The Crown discovery was United’s primary target in the licensing round. The company already has a number of assets in the UK, Italy, and Jamaica, and said it is continuing to evaluate further acquisition opportunities.

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