DUBLIN, Ireland – Ireland’s 2015 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round, which closed last week, drew a record 43 applications.
Minister of State for Natural Resources, Joe McHugh, said the response was the largest for any of the country’s offshore licensing rounds to date, with applicants ranging from small companies to majors.
“The response,” he added, “is a further positive signal of the building momentum in oil and gas exploration offshore Ireland.”
All the country’s main Atlantic basins – Porcupine, Goban Spur, Slyne, Erris, Donegal, and Rockall – were included.
The government plans to issue awards over the next few months. Recipients will be offered a two-year licensing option, to be granted under the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act, 1960.
The main purpose of the licensing option is to define exploration potential and actively promote the acreage, but the terms do not include exploration drilling.
Holders wishing to progress to exploration license can apply for a 15-year frontier exploration license with a first phase of three years and three subsequent phases of four years each.
Europa Oil & Gas, which applied for multiple blocks in this year’s round, plans to assume a 100% interest in, and operatorship of, licences FEL 2/13 and FEL 3/13 in the Porcupine basin.
This follows Kosmos Energy Ireland’s decision to exercise its option to withdraw from joint operating agreements for both licenses, which Europa believes could hold prospective resources of 1.7 Bboe.
The company says it is confident of attracting interest from other parties, based on the level of interest in the licensing round.
Work to date includes a 2,565-sq km (990-sq mi) 3D seismic survey in 2013 and delivery of a processed dataset and prospect inventory in 2014.
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