Providence Resources is understood to have formally begun the search for a new farm-out, or development, partner for its flagship Barryroe field off the Cork coast.
Shares in the Irish exploration company rose by as much as 7% as investors were buoyed by veteran oil and gas exploration executive Alan Linn being unveiled as its new chief executive.
Mr Linn - who has more than 35 years of experience in the industry - succeeds Tony O'Reilly Jr, who left the company last month, after 14 years in charge.
Mr Linn joins Providence from UK company Third Energy Onshore, where he was chief executive.
His extensive CV also includes roles with Afren, Cairn Energy, ROC Oil, and Tullow Oil.
Providence's chairman Pat Plunkett said Mr Linn has "the ideal mix" of operational and strategic experience and will bring "valuable insights" to the board "as we rebuild the business after the challenging past year".
Last year was a disastrous one for Providence. Chances of a long-awaited multi-well drilling campaign at Barryroe disappeared due to regulatory and funding frustrations.
Providence ditched Chinese consortium APEC Energy as its Barryroe partner after the Chinese group’s continued failure to produce €8m in promised project funding.
Providence's shares tanked by more than 70%. Its first half losses more than doubled to €5.5m and it was forced into doing what Mr O’Reilly referred to as “the unthinkable” in tapping shareholders for €3.4m in funds to basically keep the company afloat into the new year.
Mr Plunkett said Mr Linn recognises "the considerable potential of the company's assets, in particular Barryroe".
The company needs to drill one or two appraisal wells at the Barryroe field. In order to achieve this, it would either have to go back to the market for more funds or find a new partner.
Mr O'Reilly suggested, in October, that Providence had attracted interest from North Sea players regarding Barryroe.