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    Europa Prepares to Drill Flagship Irish Licence


And it is re-approaching companies for a farm-in, as the intended buyer is dragging its feet.

by: William Powell

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Europa Prepares to Drill Flagship Irish Licence

The Irish government has approved Europa Oil & Gas' application to convert its wholly-owned licensing option 16/20 in the Slyne basin in Atlantic Ireland into frontier exploration licence 4/19. The 15-yr licence includes Europa's flagship Inishkea prospect, just northwest of the producing Corrib gas field. 

The Inishkea prospect has estimated gross mean un-risked prospective gas resources of 1.5 trillion ft³.  The next steps include a site survey in preparation for drilling an exploration well, subject to funding and regulatory consent.  An application to obtain a site survey on the Inishkea prospect is in progress.

CEO Hugh Mackay said the company could start to drill Inishkea once funding and relevant regulatory permissions have been secured. "With a one in three chance of holding gross mean un-risked prospective resources of 1.5 trillion ft³ of gas, close proximity to the producing Corrib field, and the potential availability of spare capacity in the gas infrastructure, Inishkea represents a low risk opportunity to generate high exploration reward,"  he said.

Europa has agreed farm-in agreements in respect of FEL 4/19, FEL 1/17 and FEL 3/13 with a "major oil company" but so far with no final investment decision from the major’s head office. So Europa is continuing to market the licences to other potential partners and has had some success with regard to FEL 4/19, he said.

And "with the upcoming formal award of an offshore exploration permit on the Atlantic Margin of Morocco and positive news regarding the Wressle development, this is an exciting period for Europa and I look forward to providing further updates on our progress.”

Inishkea is a large fault bounded Triassic structure northwest of the Corrib gas field and 11 km from Corrib at its nearest point. The reservoir is Triassic age Corrib sandstone, gas is sourced from the underlying Carboniferous.

There has been parliamentary uncertainty over the legal framework, but the Irish government has decided to allow upstream projects to proceed as the alternative – compensation payable to existing licensees – would have been costly. It is also cleaner to produce gas domestically than to import it from elsewhere.