The Irish energy ministry has awarded license options in the country's 2011 license round on Ireland's Atlantic margin, which has a proven petroleum system but lacks sizable discoveries.
The license options have a 2-year term after which they may be converted into frontier exploration licenses that have four 3-year phases with a well commitment at the end of the first phase.
Providence Resources PLC was awarded operated blocks in four areas in various groups of bidding participants. The blocks are in 400-3,000 m of water.
Providence won eight blocks under License Option 11/11 in the Newgrange area of the Goban Spur basin with 40% interest. Its partners are Repsol YPF 40% and Sosina Exploration Ltd. 20%. Providence took six blocks under License Option 11/9 in the Drombeg area of the South Porcupine basin with 80% interest next to Sosina with 20%.
Providence also won six blocks in License Option 11/2 in the Spanish Point South area of the Main Porcupine basin with 32% interest along with Chrysaor Ltd., London, 58% and Sosina 10%. Providence won two blocks in the 11/12 license option in the Kylemore area of the Slyne trough with 66.6% interest alongside First Oil Expro with 33.3%.
Serica Energy PLC was awarded License Option 11/1 covering six blocks in the Rockall basin adjacent to the company's Dooish gas-condensate discovery and near Serica's existing Exploration License 1/09 that contains the Muckish prospect just northeast. The option covers 1,230 sq km on blocks 11/5, 11/10, 11/15, 12/1, 12/6, and part of 12/11.
Serica said the award area has two pre-Cretaceous fault block prospects, Midleton and West Midleton, analogous to and just east of Dooish. Serica will reprocess 2D and 3D seismic and run other geological studies in the first 2 years to firm up the prospects.
Petrel Resources PLC was offered two license options totaling 1,405 sq km in 1,500 m of water in the Porcupine basin. The options cover blocks 35/23, 35/24, the key parts of 35/25, 45/6, 45/11, 44/15, and 45/16.
The ministry offered license options on 257,200 sq km, but some companies reportedly stayed away due to concerns on the experience of Corrib gas field, discovered in 1996 and still not on production.
The round attracted bids from 12 companies, but the major operators abstained. Other license options went to Antrim Energy, Bluestack Energy, Europa Oil & Gas, San Leon Energy, and Two Seas Oil & Gas.