DUBLIN, Ireland – Petrel Resources plc has formally accepted two new licensing options (LO) awarded in the Porcupine basin, offshore Ireland, as part of phase two of the 2015 Atlantic Ireland licensing round. Petrel is the 100% operator.
The licenses have two-year terms with agreed to work programs, following which Petrel has the option to convert to frontier exploration licenses.
LO 16/24, in the northeastern Porcupine basin is 664 sq km (245 sq mi), encompassing all of blocks 26/26, and 35/01, as well as available parts of 26/27 and 35/02.
LO 16/24 is in the Porcupine basin close to the known hydrocarbon discoveries of Burren (Lower Cretaceous), Spanish Point (Jurassic), and Connemara (Jurassic).
“There are few emerging exploration areas with so many potential plays as the Porcupine - an underexplored basin with up to 10 km of sediment. The recent major discoveries in the Flemish Pass basin, offshore eastern Canada, have re-focused industry attention on the Upper Jurassic, particularly in South Porcupine, while along the basin margins the exciting potential in the Lower Cretaceous, prolific in West Africa, also remains undrilled. LO 16/24 has potential for both Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous prospects,” Petrel Resources said.
Petrel said its interpretation of legacy traditional 2D seismic data indicated Lower Cretaceous pinch-out plays’ in the southern section of the acreage, with the potential for up to 310 MMboe gross mean unrisked indicative resources.
“Separate Apto-Albian plays in the northern section of the acreage awarded also have considerable potential, but need reprocessing and reinterpretation of the expanded seismic data set to give estimates with greater confidence,” it said.
LO 16/25 is in the eastern Porcupine basin, closer to shore, and encompasses part of block 45/27.
Block 45/27 lies within an embayment on the eastern margin of the Porcupine basin. Sediment was fed into this area in Lower Cretaceous time from the Celtic Platform to the east, and particularly from the adjacent Túr Igneous Centre. The principal play, so far identified, is for up-dip pinch-out of Lower Cretaceous units against the basin margin.
Interpretation of legacy 2D seismic data indicates potential for closure at these levels within the block, Petrel said, noting that it is premature to estimate recoverable volumes but the strength of competing bids and companies operating on similar acreage nearby highlights the prospectivity of this part of the Porcupine. This area is covered by the 3D seismic program acquired by Kosmos Energy in 2013.
David Horgan, Petrel director, commented, “The resounding success of the 2015 Bid Round has transformed the Irish Atlantic, and especially the Porcupine basin. When we first applied for acreage in 2011 it was a lonely path. Financial markets were skeptical and the industry unconvinced. We have persisted with our work on and evangelizing of the Porcupine basin.
“There were three discoveries in the Porcupine basin in the period 1978-1981, of which the Spanish Point discovery is due to be re-drilled by Cairn. Recent technological advances, better understanding of geology and higher average oil and gas prices have opened up the Irish Atlantic.
“Previous oil price falls after 1986, and again after 1998, led to operator departures and a drying up of interest. But the oil price fall of 54% since mid-2014 has not diminished explorer interest. Instead, more and bigger companies are bidding larger work programs. In the 2015 Bid Round, 43 applications were made by 17 companies but only 28 offers made. Less than half of the Porcupine basin acreage applied for was offered.
“We plan to apply new techniques and lessons learnt elsewhere to the new ground, approaching innovative partners open to different ideas, and we hope to expand our Porcupine basin presence in the future.”