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Potential Oil-Field off Dalkey

12th November 2010
Potential Oil-Field off Dalkey
In an update issued last week by Providence Resources, it was revealed that its exploration well located 10-miles off the exclusive Dublin Bay suburb of Dalkey has a presence of potential direct hydrocarbons, according to a report in The Sunday Times.

"It's another evaluation process which is positive, an encouraging tick in the box. But ultimately it's only exploration-it has to be drilled", said Tony O'Reilly, CEO of Providence. "I'm hoping that'll be 2011, as part of our overall multi-basin programme in Ireland. We've a big programme of activity and the Dalkey Island (Prospect) will be part of that", he added.

The advantage of any potential oil find at the Dalkey Prospect is that the block well is in shallow waters up to 25-metres, compared to Providence deeper offshore projects of Dunquin and Spanish Point. Another factor in drilling off Dublin Bay is that operations are cheaper and safer. The naming of the exploration site after Dalkey, reflects the Kish Basin's relative geographical proximity to that particular stretch of coastline, marking the southern approaches to Dublin Port.

The optimism expressed about the Kish Bank Basin exploration and other fields must be put into context based on the previous track record of drilling around the Irish coast. The Irish Offshore Operators'Association (IOAA) has pointed out that the exploration industry has spent some €3 billion on around 130 drill-well testing sites since 1970, to little effect. The cost of a well operation off the west coast is over €50m and with such high investment, only up to two wells are carried out annually. Of the commercially viable wells, just four-fields have been exploited, but all are gas-based.

The IOAA says that there is potential but there needs to be more exploration activity. In 2009, only two bids for exploration licences were made, compared to 350 offers sought in UK waters. The association blames the lack of exploration due to delays experienced at the Corrib field, an absence of infrastructural development and expensive operating costs.

The association says the rewards are great, citing the Department of Energy's estimate of recoverable reserves of 10 billion barrels of oil. At that amount, the figure is 100 times the state's annual energy consumption of both oil and gas.

Published in Coastal Notes
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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