Fastnet hopeful of Celtic Sea licences

Fastnet Oil & Gas, the Dublin-headquartered exploration company, is hopeful of receiving approval for two new Celtic Sea licences before the end of the year.

The ESM and AIM-listed company — which is led by former Cove Energy and Island Oil & Gas executives — has spent the last few months building up a portfolio of exploration prospects off the coasts of Ireland and Morocco, the latter via a recent takeover of North African-based Pathfinder Hydrocarbon.

With regard to Ireland, Fastnet is looking to develop four or five big prospects from a portfolio of four licences off the south coast.

Two of those licences — Mizzen Basin and Molly Malone — are already in its ownership, while two additional licences that applied for late last year and earlier this year, are expected to be given the green light before the end of 2012.

Next year is likely to see the company embark on the largest 3D seismic survey conducted to date in the Celtic Sea, covering approximately 2,500km sq and several project areas.

Fastnet has already held initial discussions with prospective farm-in partners to aid the surveying effort and has said that the feelgood factor generated from Providence Resources’ recent find at the Barryroe field off Cork has generated a degree of interest.

Typically, 3D surveying gives a good indication of the size of a structure ahead of drilling.

Prior to that activity, however, Fastnet will have reprocessed “key prospect defining” 2D seismic data on its Mizzen Basin licence option area in the North Celtic Sea.

The company yesterday announced that it has signed an agreement with the leading geophysical services company WesternGeco to undertake the specialist work, which is due to be completed early next year.

Fastnet chairman, Cathal Friel said that through the work, the company hopes to “continue de-risking the licence area, in order to mature it toward exploratory drilling”.

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