The Spanish Point appraisal well in Frontier Exploration Licenses 2/04, 4/08 and 1/14 in offshore Ireland's northern Porcupine Basin will not now be drilled in 2014, according to Dublin-based Providence Resources.
However, a 3D seismic survey in the area is due to go ahead this summer, the firm says.
Providence, a partner on the Spanish Point licenses, with operator Capricorn Ireland (38% interest), a subsidiary of Cairn Energy, said extensive delays in the refurbishment of the Blackford Dolphin drilling rig, which had been scheduled to drill the well, mean that drilling operations would not be able to commence until at least October, thereby putting the Spanish Point drilling operations into the winter period.
Image: The Blackford Dolphin, moored at Harland and Wolff's yard in Belfast, during its refurbishment program. It was previously being used offshore Brazil. Photograph by Toni Dempster.
As a result, Cairn has cancelled the contract with Dolphin for the Blackford Dolphin and tendering for another rig has to drill in 2015 has started.
Separately, Capricorn has said, subject to regulatory approval, a large 3D seismic acquisition program over Blocks 35/13, 35/14, 35/15, 35/18 and 35/19 in FEL 1/14 (Spanish Point South) will go ahead this summer.
Providence holds 32% in the licenses, with Capricorn and Chrysaor E&P Ireland (26%) and Sosina Exploration (4%).
The licences, which cover about 2000sq km, are located about 175km off the west coast of Ireland in about 400m water depth.
The Blackford Dolphin is contracted to Chevron from Q2-2015 for a multi-well program in the UK North Sea. The contract is for 18-months and valued at US$255 million.
Tony O'Reilly, Providence's CEO, said: "The postponement of appraisal drilling at Spanish Point is regrettable and beyond the control of the partnership. As the rig refurbishment delays became apparent, the operator evaluated various options to re-schedule the Blackford Dolphin rig and/or to secure another drilling unit for 2014, but this proved unsuccessful. our ability to commence drilling in the autumn was further constrained by the rig's operational capabilities a the Spanish Point location during winter and thus the decision was taken to terminate the contract and seek a new drilling unit for 2015. this procurement process has commenced and we will provide further updates as they are confirmed by the operator."