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UpstreamOnline: Irish eyes smile on six

IAIN ESAU in Stavanger

Six companies were handed frontier exploration licences in a recent round covering the Slyne, Erris and Donegal basins off western Ireland, the Irish government confirmed.

In the round, major players Statoil and Shell were awarded licences including blocks 19/9 and 19/13 as well as part of Block 19/17 close to their Corrib gasfield in Quadrant 18.

Toronto-based Serica Energy landed 100% stakes in blocks 27/4, 27/9 and part of Block 27/5 in the Slyne Basin. Serica said it would reprocess about 300 square kilometres of 3D seismic data from the properties. If it opts to proceed to the second phase of the licence, it will drill at least one exploration well, it said.

Local player Island Oil & Gas teamed up with Sweden’s Lundin Petroleum and US-based Endeavour Energy to win a licence taking in parts of blocks 13/4(S), 13/5(S), 13/9(E), 13/13(N), 13/14(N) and 14/1(N) in the Donegal Basin, about 60 kilometres east of Shell’s Dooish discovery in the Rockall Basin.

Island will operate the new venture, dubbed Inishowen, with a 40% stake, with Lundin Petroleum also holding 40% and Endeavour 20%. Licensing requirements for the development call for a 2D survey of the area during the first three years of the licence.

Separately, Island and Lundin also landed an exploration licence covering blocks 27/18 and 27/23 as well as parts of blocks 27/17(E) and 27/22(E) in the Southern Slyne Trough, about 110 kilometres south of the Corrib gasfield.

The companies will hold 50% stakes in the new licences, named Inishmore. The pair has committed to completing a 3D seismic survey of the area within the initial three-year development period.

Irish regulators said an application from another local player, Grianan Energy, was denied because it failed to meet the licensing round’s terms and conditions.

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