FINAL confirmation on whether commercial drilling will take place off the Clare coast in 2013 is expected before Christmas.
Chrysaor E&P Ireland Ltd, who now own the majority stake in both the Spanish Point and Burren gas and oil fields within the Porcupine Basin, undertook a vessel-based geotechnical and environmental survey of the Spanish Point Field in September.
While initial results for this resource have been described by the company as very positive, an official announcement on the survey, and the prospects of commercial drilling taking place next year, is expected to be made in the coming weeks.
According to Chrysaor, planning is already well underway for a programme of drilling off Spanish Point over the next two years.
“In 2013, subject to normal governmental consents and rig availability, the group intends to drill a Spanish Point appraisal well to confirm volumetrics and reservoir properties,” said a company statement.
“If that well is successful, the group will return in 2014 to drill a second Spanish Point appraisal well, frac-test the original Spanish Point appraisal well and drill the first ranked exploration prospect.”
The cost of drilling two explorations wells on the Spanish Point field is likely to run to between €80 million and €100 million.
Chrysaor now own a 62 per cent share of the exploration licence for both the Spanish Point and Burren fields. Irish company Providence Resources’ share of the license has been diluted to 32 per cent while Sosina Exploration also owns an 8 per cent stake.
Providence, who held a majority share of the licence when interest in the “Clare” fields was reignited in 2007, told The Clare People at the time that they would not be bringing any gas on shore in Clare.
Chrysaor have not indicated how they intend to bring the gas and oil ashore.
Latest estimates indicate that Spanish Point contains about 200 million barrels of oil equivalent, with peak production estimated to be 70,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
This is estimated to be enough gas to fill Ireland’s entire domestic gas need for the next 50 years.
Gas and a small amount of oil was discovered in the field in 1981 but was deemed to be too difficult to recover at the time.
However, with increases in gas prices and improvements in exploration techniques, the prospect is now thought to be profitable.