Barryroe owner brands oil and gas licensing ban 'a lost opportunity'

Barryroe owner brands oil and gas licensing ban 'a lost opportunity'
Providence Resources said it is making progress on finalising development partners for its Barryroe oil and gas field off the Cork coast.  Picture: Finbarr O'Rourke

The new boss of Irish exploration company Providence Resources has labelled the Government’s moves to ban the issuing of new oil and gas drilling licences “a lost opportunity”.

Providence owns the Barryroe field, which lies off the Cork coast and looks primed to be Ireland’s sole source of indigenous natural gas once the Corrib field winds down.

Addressing his first Providence agm, Alan Linn – who succeeded Tony O’Reilly Jr as the company’s CEO in January – said it was “a bad decision” by the State and one which has effectively driven big-name explorers out of Irish waters. Mr Linn claimed that these oil majors would have invested heavily in Ireland’s aim of transitioning from fossil fuel usage to renewable energy and done much to help achieve Ireland’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

He said he wants Providence to have a proactive voice in Ireland’s energy discussions and is happy to talk to the Green Party, over its plans for Barryroe, which include carbon storage as well as securing energy supply.

“The Greens are now a party of government and no longer an activist party. 

"Therefore, they need to be open-minded about what’s best for Ireland. [Barryroe] is good for Ireland both environmentally and economically,” Mr Linn said.

Providence said it continues to make progress on its Barryroe farm-out agreement – with Norwegian player SpotOn Energy expected to formally come on board as lead development partner, as part of a wider industry consortium, by the time its current period of exclusivity expires in October.

“Barryroe is one of the largest undeveloped oil and gas fields in Europe and, having worked with many of the consortium companies over the years, I am confident that we are introducing a high-quality core project development team with both the capability and capacity to deliver a world-class project,” Mr Linn said.

While the terms of the Barryroe deal are still being negotiated, it is likely that Providence will ultimately own around a 20% stake in the field. 

It remains possible that appraisal wells will be drilled in the second half of next year, with Barryroe potentially becoming a commercial energy producer by 2023.

Mr Linn said Providence Resources remains "significantly undervalued" versus the potential of the Barryroe project.

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