The Porcupine Basin is an exploration hotspot, driven both by the interest in Jurassic plays similar to those found in the analogous Flemish Pass basin offshore Canada and in Cretaceous stratigraphic prospects similar to those encountered offshore West Africa. As such, the 2015 Atlantic Margin licencing round has been the most successful to date, with a record number of 43 applications from 17 companies. With Phase 2 of these awards announced in June 2016, we are providing an update to our Exploration Watch on the Porcupine basin published in April 2016. For a more detailed introduction to the basin, please refer to our original note.
While a significant number of the Phase 1 awards went to majors interested in the Southern Porcupine Basin, the 14 licence options awarded in Phase 2 have gone to 11 independent companies. Concentrated to the north of the Phase 1 awards, a number of Phase 2 licences have been awarded away from the basin edges and with a separate area of interest appearing around the Corrib gas field in the Slyne Basin to the north-east of the Porcupine Basin.
Atlantic Margin concession maps
Europa Oil & Gas was awarded four licence options and AzEire and Petrel Resources received two, with the remaining eight companies picking up one licence option each. A number of companies have entered the Atlantic Margin for the first time, including Faroe Petroleum, Predator Oil & Gas, Theseus and Ratio Petroleum. The work obligations for these awards mainly involve desktop studies and so offer a low-cost entry to the area for small independents. The licence options terms vary between two to three years before a company must decide whether to convert to a frontier exploration licence (FEL) and commit to more expensive activity such as 3D seismic acquisition and exploration drilling.
The Phase 1 awards were allocated earlier in the year to companies with firm seismic acquisition plans and this has allowed some surveys to be carried out over the summer seismic window in 2016. Woodside has already completed a 1,600km2 3D survey over its LO 16/14, known as Granuaile, in the Southern Porcupine Basin and covering blocks 54/11, 54/12, 54/13, 54/16, 54/17 and 54/18. The company has now shifted its attention north and is in the process of acquiring 2,400km2 3D seismic across an area known as Bréannan, covering its licences FEL 3/14 (in which Petrel holds a 15% WI) and FEL 5/14 (with partner AzEire, 40% WI). In addition, Statoil and ExxonMobil are expected to carry out a 5000km2 3D survey over their six licences in the Southern Porcupine over the course of the summer. This would bring the total seismic acquired in the Porcupine in 2016 to 9000km2, a significant increase on the previous record for the basin of 3,500km2 in 2013.
Slyne Basin: Renewed interest
Four of the licence awards are clustered around Shell’s Corrib gas field, opening up a new area of exploration interest. Two of these licence options were awarded to Europa, with Faroe and Predator picking up one licence each. Any future discovery here could benefit from being tied back to nearby infrastructure.
Please see the full note available on the Edison website: click here