Cairn Energy has decided to defer an appraisal of its deepwater Spanish Point prospect, according to partner Providence Resources.

The Irish explorer confirmed that Cairn has decided to defer the exploration well in Frontier Exploration Licence (FEL) 2/04 off the west coast of Ireland in the northern Porcupine Basin. The licence, some 175 km offshore, is operated by Cairn’s subsidiary Capricorn Ireland Ltd. which has a 38% interest as operator. Providence holds 58% and Sosina Exploration 4%.

The well, originally planned for this year, is deferred “pending discussions with partners and the Government of the Republic of Ireland”.

Tony O’Reilly, Providence chief executive, said the delay “follows recent unforeseen changes to the make-up of the joint venture and the consequent delay to the securing of equipment and other necessary requirements. As stated previously, Providence’s involvement in the well was subject not only to equipment availability, but also to either further financing or concluding a farm out with a third party company. Discussions with interested third parties in relation to Spanish Point continue and further announcements will be issued, as appropriate”.

  • Providence also recently reported that an initial evaluation of fast-track 3-D seismic data over its deepwater Drombeg prospect in the southern Porcupine Basin offshore southwest Ireland had revealed seismic morphologies consistent with those of a large deepwater fan system. Drombeg is located in FEL 2/14 and further seismic interpretation work is continuing on the data, with analysis to be completed and received by the end of April.

Providence’s technical director, John O’Sullivan, said the company was encouraged by the initial observations and that Drombeg had already attracted expressions of interest from a number of major international oil companies. “We plan to hold prospect presentations later in the year once a comprehensive data analysis has been completed,” he said.

Drombeg sits in a water depth of approximately 2,500 m (8,202 ft) and is around 220 km off the west coast. Providence holds an 80% stake as operator, with its partner Sosina Exploration holding the other 20%.