Category: Archive

Experts say gas, oil possible off Donegal

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The discovery was made by the Enterprise Oil company, which also found the commercial Corrib gas field about 40 miles off the County Mayo coast that contains estimated reserves of about a trillion cubic feet of gas.
Enterprise Oil is now owned by the giant Shell company, which bought it in April.
Andy Pyle, Enterprise’s manager for Ireland, described the Rockall discovery as “very encouraging” but stressed it was a long way to go from an early indication of hydrocarbons to proving that it is a find that could be economically developed.
He said the neither the well nor the samples had been tested so far.
“Its a gassy type of hydrocarbon rather than heavy oil, but we need to do a lot more testing before we can be sure of exactly what we have got,” he told RTE in his first interview about the find.
The costs of operating in the hostile North Atlantic are huge. The well was the second deepest — in water depth terms — ever drilled off Ireland.
“We are talking in the order of $15 million or so for the well we drilled this year and we are probably talking, not as much again, but a substantial further expenditure to complete the current program,” Pyle said.
Ireland has had several offshore gas finds but no offshore oil and geologists had hoped the Rockall Basin could be the location for the first oil discovery. If a find was made in the area, the production technology needed to exploit it and bring it ashore would be cutting edge.
Meanwhile, planning delays are holding up the multi-million dollar development of the Corrib field as Ireland’s imports of gas continue to rise.
Shell, through Enterprise Oil, is the leading partner in Corrib in a joint venture with the Norwegian Statoil company and the U.S.-owned Marathon Petroleum.
The Mayo County Council granted planning approval for the onshore terminal last year but the decision was appealed to An Bord Pleanala.
When Taoiseach Bertie Ahern announced a euro 130 million onshore pipeline extension to the national grid in October 2000, the gas had been expected to be delivered ashore in 2003, but that is now expected to be pushed back into 2004.
The country’s two other offshore gas fields off the south coast, Kinsale Head and Ballycotton, are expected to run out by 2004. Discovered in the early 1970s by Marathon, they had reserves of about 1.4 trillion cubic feet.

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