Hunt for oil intensifies

Hunt for oil intensifies

Drilling for oil at Barryroe. Picture: Finbarr O’Rourke

DRILLING for oil off the Cork coast has the potential to become a billion-dollar enterprise in the coming years, with enormous benefits for employment in the region.

Providence Resources Chief Executive Tony O’Reilly with a vial of oil from Barryroe
Providence Resources Chief Executive Tony O’Reilly with a vial of oil from Barryroe

That was the bold statement by businessman Tony O’Reilly Jr, as his company Providence Resources finalises a new deal with a Chinese consortium to fund appraisal drilling.

Mr O’Reilly told the Evening Echo that success at Barryroe, off the coast of Kinsale, would also mean success for the Cork area.

“Big investment would follow,” he said of a full drilling campaign. 

“While the initial investment is €100m to €150m, for a full field development you are talking up to a billion dollars and potentially even more than that.” 

It is six years since Providence Resources successfully flow tested a well at Barryroe, and it is estimated it holds between 1bn and 1.6bn barrels of oil.

With the assistance of the Apec consortium, the company hopes to move ahead with appraisal drilling in the first half of next year.

“We know there is oil there because we have successfully drilled and have all the data,” Mr O’Reilly said.

“It is now looking at the ultimate field development, how many wells would be required, where they would be located.” 

If they are able to move forward at the planned timeline, he believes they could be pumping oil commercially in Barryroe within five or six years.

“It is an offshore development but obviously for Cork there are huge opportunities,” Mr O’Reilly said. 

“We will base ourselves out of Cork, which we always do for our drilling operations, but this would be a development as well.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more