Located approximately 150km off the coast of Kerry — in the Porcupine Basin — Dunquin has long since been heralded as one of the high-potential exploration prospects in Irish waters; with Providence Resources’ chief executive, Tony O’Reilly Jr having referred to it as “a world-class structure” back when the company launched details of its multi-well Irish interests.
Providence is a 16% shareholder in Dunquin, with London-headquartered explorer Sosina holding a 4% interest. Spanish oil and gas company, Repsol, holds a 25% equity stake. However, Italian energy giant, Eni and ExxonMobil are the main two stakeholders — each with a 27.5% holding — with the latter acting as operator since 2008.
A spokesperson for ExxonMobil confirmed the Eirik Raude drilling rig is under contract for operations at Dunquin with the rig’s owner — Ocean Rig — moving it in preparation of operations.
“With regards to timing, as we have previously stated, we expect to drill the well during the first half of 2013. The drilling rig is expected to be on location for several months. We look forward to working with the Irish authorities to complete this project in a safe and timely manner.
“ExxonMobil and its co-venturers value the efforts of the Irish Government and regulatory authorities to support the progress of the Dunquin exploration programme.”