It had been anticipated, earlier this year, that Scottish explorer, Cairn Energy would begin drilling an appraisal well at the Spanish Point prospect off Co Clare into which it farmed-in last year; with such a move marking the only likely drilling work to be undertaken in Ireland’s much-touted offshore sector during 2014.
However, a company spokesperson confirmed this week that due to the availability of the Blackford Dolphin rig, the aforementioned Spanish Point appraisal well “will not be drilled in 2014”.
But while drilling had been widely expected, Cairn had not, at any point, formally committed itself to drilling in Irish waters in 2014.
Cairn added Ireland to its regional portfolio in the middle of 2013; buying into two licences in the Porcupine Basin off the west coast.
By investing more than €3m, Cairn took operatorship-status and a near 40% stake in six licensing block options across the Spanish Point gas condensate and the Burren oil discovery; also agreeing to cover around 55% of the cost of each well.
Other partners on the prospects include Dublin-based Providence Resources.
However, Cairn is about to begin one of the largest ever 3D seismic surveys in Irish waters, with the high-spec Polarcus Amani survey vessel having docked in Cork over the weekend before heading to the Porcupine Basin.
The focus of the survey is in the southern Porcupine Basin, where Polarcus will acquire a minimum area of 4,300 km2, providing coverage over Providence Resources’ Drombeg exploration prospect and the attractive adjacent open acreage on offer in the 2015 Atlantic Margin Oil and Gas Exploration Licensing Round.