Frontier Exploration Licence 3/04
FEL 3/04 was originally awarded to Providence (80%, Operator) and partner Sosina (20%) in 2004. The licence lies in the southern Porcupine Basin, c. 200 km off the south-west coast and in c. 1,500 metre water depth.
In 2006, Providence agreed a farm-in with ExxonMobil, whereby they assumed an 80.0% stake in return for a pre-agreed investment programme. This transaction reduced Providence’s equity stake to 16.0% and that of Sosina to 4.0%. In 2006, the partnership acquired 1,500 line km of 2D seismic data over Dunquin which confirmed c. 1.7 BNBOE REC (P50) prospective resources potential in the two interpreted carbonate prospects. In 2009, ENI farmed in for a 40% stake, resulting in a revised equity participation of Providence (16%), ExxonMobil (40%), ENI (40%) and Sosina (4%). Separately, ExxonMobil took over the Operatorship and moved the partnership to the next stage of the licence, formally making a well commitment. In 2011, Repsol farmed in for a 25% stake, thereby re-aligning equity participation to ExxonMobil (27.5%), ENI (27.5%), Repsol (25%), Providence (16%) and Sosina (4%). In 2013, Atlantic Petroleum farmed in to the licence resulting in final equity stakes of ExxonMobil (25.5%), Eni (27.5%), Repsol (25%), Providence (16%), Atlantic (4%) and Sosina (2%). In 2015, Providence agreed to acquire Atlantic Petroleum’s equity interest, subject to approval of the Minister.
Following ExxonMobil’s withdrawal from FEL 3/04 in 2016, and subsequent ratification by the Minister, the remaining partners in FEL 3/04 have increased their equity interests in the licence through a pro-rata distribution of ExxonMobil’s equity interest with Eni assuming the role of Operator. Accordingly, with this equity re-distribution and Providence’s acquisition of Atlantic’s stake, the revised equity interests of the JV Partners in FEL 3/04 are Eni Ireland B.V. (36.913%), Repsol Exploracion Irlanda, S.A. (33.557%), Providence Resources P.l.c. (26.846%) and Sosina Exploration Limited (2.684%).
Drilling operations on the Dunquin North exploration well, situated on the northern flank of a c. 700 km2 intra-basinal ridge system, were completed in July 2013 having reached a final total depth of c. 5,000 metres MDBRT. The primary Lower Cretaceous Dunquin North target was encountered within the pre-drill depth prognosis and comprised a thick over-pressured carbonate reservoir system. The well was terminated having drilled a total thickness of c. 250 metres of massive porous carbonate reservoir. Preliminary well analysis indicated the reservoir to be water bearing, however, petrophysical log interpretation, elevated gas levels, together with oil shows in sidewall cores over the upper section of the reservoir, suggested the presence of a residual oil column.
During 2014, the Company announced the results of the post well analysis from the Dunquin North exploration well. This analysis confirmed that the prospect contained at least a c. 44 metre residual oil column in a thick, overpressured, high porosity carbonate reservoir system that was breached, with pre-breach oil STOIIP volumetrics of c. 1.2 BBOE, and with a current residual oil STOIIP of c. 600 MMBO. An assessment was also carried out on the other exploration prospect contained in FEL 3/04, Dunquin South, which has identified un-risked prospective resources of hydrocarbons in place of 3.475 BBOE (Pmean), with a recoverable estimate of 1.389 BBOE (Pmean).
As this was the first well to be drilled in the southern Porcupine Basin, an area the size of the Central North Sea, confirmation of a residual oil column in a high porosity massive carbonate reservoir system has acted as both a significant play and basin opener. In addition, the giant Statoil-operated Bay du Nord oil discovery in the Flemish Pass Basin, offshore Canada, which is considered to have been geologically on-trend with the southern Porcupine Basin, adds further impetus for future exploration in the area. As the largest acreage holder in the southern Porcupine Basin, with interests in Dunquin, Cuchulain, Newgrange and Drombeg, the Company is exceptionally well placed to capitalise on this growing industry interest at one end of what is now being termed the ‘North Atlantic Jurassic oil source-rock superhighway’.
In June 2017, the Dunquin JV partners licenced new multi-client 3D seismic data, acquired by third party seismic contractor CGG over FEL 3/04 in 2017.