“Landmark” year for Providence

Oil and gas exploration firm Providence Resources said 2012 was a “landmark” year for the company, as it completed its first well at Barryroe.

But the company reported an operating loss of €5.4 million for the year, higher than the €4.08 million recorded in 2011. That was mainly due to the increased administration expenses as Providence embarked on its multi-basin drilling campaign.

The Barryroe appraisal well was the first of six that are planned for the oil field off the coast of Ireland, with work on the second well beginning last month.

The results of the initial well have “far exceeded” expectations, the company said, following already announced tests in March 2012.

“All in all, the success of Barryroe has helped to redefine the industry view on the Irish offshore. It has also had an extremely positive impact on both the asset portfolio and the financial well-being of the company,” said chief executive Tony O’Reilly.

A further appraisal well is planned for the Spanish Point gas condensate field in the second quarter of 2014, with a farm in deal by Cairn Energy, and two more will be drilled in the Rathlin and Kish Bank Basins. The final appraisal well will be drilled in the St. George’s Channel.

During the year, the company had a successful share placing of 13.149 million new ordinary shares, raising gross proceeds of $100 million, and sold its UK onshore assets at the Singleton oil field, Baxter’s Copse development project and Burton Down exploration prospect for $66 million.

The company’s loss from continuing operations narrowed to €8.2 million, from just under €9.1 million in 2011.Discontinued operations reported a loss of €15.95 million in 2012, up from €4.84 million a year earlier. Tiotal losses amounted to almost €24.2 million.

Over the past 18 months, the company reduced its debt by €75 million through with assets sales and capital raisings, leaving Providence Resources debt free.

“We also continue to look at new exploration and appraisal opportunities for future drilling in other basins, such as Drombeg, in the Southern Porcupine Basin, which has already generated significant industry interest, and Newgrange, in the Goban Spur Basin, which is operated by Repsol,” said Mr O’Reilly.