Fastnet survey may cost €15m

Irish exploration company Fastnet Oil & Gas has selected French geophysical company CGG to carry out its much-anticipated seismic surveying activity in the Celtic Sea in the coming months; a deal which could cost up to €15m.

While the companies have not indicated a value, industry sources suggest the deal is likely to cost the Dublin-headquartered firm between €10m and €15m.

Fastnet significantly enhanced its presence off the south coast through the winning of two licensing options towards the end of last year.

It had already flagged its intention to carry out the largest 3D seismic survey ever conducted in Irish waters this year, covering nearly 2,200 sq km; although it hasn’t specified which of its assets will be covered.

The work is set to begin during the second quarter of this year.

Typically, 3D surveying gives a good indication of the size of a structure ahead of drilling, and this move is being seen as a major potential de-risking of Fastnet’s Irish assets.

Cathal Friel — Fastnet’s chairman — said the work should mark a significant unlocking of the company’s potential in Irish waters.

“The value of 3D seismic has been demonstrated in our other core areas, offshore Morocco, where the existence of an extensive 3D seismic database has been the catalyst recently for a number of value-creating industry farm-ins and acquisitions. “We anticipate that the commitment to 3D seismic…in the Celtic Sea will have a similar impact on our ability to attract larger oil companies to partner with us to help unlock the potential in our materially significant prospects and leads,” he added.

Fastnet will pay for the 3D seismic work from the proceeds of its €18.6m capital-raising exercise last November, although most of that funding will be retained to pay for the company’s upcoming drilling round in Morocco.

Meanwhile, British explorer, Europa Oil & Gas — which has a couple of licences off the Irish coast — has claimed to have received partnership interest from a number of oil majors.

However, the company has not yet divulged any names of prospective exploration partners.

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