Europa Oil and Gas has ruled out any prospect of drilling in Irish waters next year, but has said it is making significant progress towards drilling activity in 2020, including on its flagship gas project adjacent to the Corrib field off the west coast.
Ireland is a key region for the British explorer, with it sitting on about five billion barrels of oil and 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas across six offshore licences here.
Up until the beginning of this month Europa hadn’t ruled out drilling off the Irish coast next year. It has been actively seeking a development partner for three licences in the Porcupine Basin off the south-west — comprising half of its Irish assets — since the summer.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Atlantic Ireland exploration conference, in Dublin, Europa’s chief executive Hugh Mackay said there has been “very very serious interest” shown in the company’s Porcupine assets and a farm-in partner may be sourced in the coming months.
The farm-in process for Europa’s flagship Inishkea block of prospects, close to the Corrib gas field further up the west coast, will begin in January.
Europa is confident of drilling work commencing on all assets during 2020.
The company is also unlikely to seek funding partners, on top of farm-in partners, which had been considered.
The Corrib field provides 60% of Ireland’s gas demand, but that will fall to 10% over the next seven years.
Mr Mackay has said, previously, that the Inishkea project could significantly reduce Ireland’s reliance on gas imports.