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Displaying items by tag: Providence Resources

The Department of Transport advises that an analogue survey consisting of multibeam, side-scan sonar and magnetometer will be carried out off the South Coast of Ireland by the Marine Institute on behalf of Providence Resources from Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 October, weather permitting.

In addition to the analogue survey, seabed samples and camera imagery will be acquired at approximately 10 stations in the survey area.

The survey will be conducted in Block 48/24 Barryroe, in the North Celtic Basin, around 45–50km from the south coast of Ireland, and will be undertaken by the RV Celtic Voyager (callsign EIQN). The vessel will be towing a side-scan sonar and magnetometer from time to time with cables of up to 300m long.

As this vessel will be restricted in its ability to manoeuvre when surveying, other vessels are requested to keep a wide berth. The vessel will display appropriate lights and signals.

For details of coordinates of the survey area, see Marine Notice No 55 of 2021 which is available to download below.

Published in News Update

#MarineNotice - The survey vessel VOS Sweet (Callsign PCPE) is currently conducting offshore geotechnical and environmental survey operations associated with the proposed Celtic Interconnector on behalf of EirGrid.

The VOS Sweet was set to commence operations yesterday, Monday 18 June, and will operate on a 24-hour daily basis for approximately two weeks in two main corridors off East Cork to three landfall points: Ballinwilling Strand (Ballycotton Bay); Redbarn Beach and Claycastle Beach (Youghal Bay).

The survey is to collect geotechnical data utilising a Vibrocorer (VC) and Cone Penetration Test (CPT) spread and environmental (benthic) data utilising Grab Sampler spread. The survey will be conducted under Foreshore Licence FS006811. Common frequency VHF Channel 16 shall be used throughout the project.

Details of the route centreline co-ordinates as well as intended locations for the VC, CPT and benthic sampling are included in Marine Notice No 26 of 2018, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Meanwhile, Providence Resources is carrying out a site survey on its FEL 6/14 licence, called Newgrange, situated between the Southern Porcupine and Goban Spur Basins some 260km off the South West Coast.

The eight-day geophysical survey by the MV Kommandor (Callsign MCJO2), was scheduled to commence on Monday, is using dual-frequency side scan sonar, single-beam and multi‐beam echosounders, side scan sonar, sub‐bottom profilers and magnetometer.

Seabed (benthic) samples will also be taken using a box corer or grab as appropriate, and geotechnical sampling will be undertaken with a piston corer to a minimum target depth of 6m below the seabed.

In addition to the above, and to accurately determine potential future drilling hazards over the Newgrange location, the proposed survey will also include a high resolution 2D seismic which is not expected to exceed two days.

Survey operations will be conducted on a 24-hour basis. The MV Kommandor will be displaying shapes and lights prescribed in the International Rules for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) Rule 27, to indicate that the survey vessel is restricted in its ability to manoeuvre. A listening watch will be maintained on VHF Channel 16, and the vessel will actively transmit an AIS signal.

Co-ordinates and a map of the expected working area are outlined in Marine Notice No 25 of 2018, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#MarineNotice - Providence Resources advises it intends to drill an exploration well in the Southern Porcupine Basin.

Operations were scheduled to begin today (Monday 3 July) to drill the well at a depth of 2,250 metres some 220km off the South West Coast of Ireland.

Drilling is expected to take 60 days to complete, subject to weather and operational delays.

The dynamically positioned drill ship Stena IceMax (Callsign 2FMJ5) will carry out the drilling, supported by platform supply vessels Sjoborg (Callsign OZ-2075), Edda Frende (Callsign LCOB) and Skandi Flora (Callsign LEVX). The emergency rapid response vessel is Esvagt Don (Callsign MZWQ6).

There will be a safety exclusion zone of 500m radius from the drill ship. Regular safety messages will be broadcast on VHF Channel 16 by Esvagt Don throughout the project. Radio navigation warnings will also be issued several times daily by the Irish Coast Guard

All vessels, particularly those engaged in fishing, are requested to give the Stena IceMax and accompanying vessels a wide berth and keep a sharp lookout in the relevant areas.

Full details of the drilling area are included in Marine Notice No 28 of 2017, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in News Update

#Oil&Gas - A drop in exploration costs alongside the fall in commodities prices is driving increased interest in Providence Resources' Barryroe prospect, as The Irish Times reports.

"Work continues with a number of parties to progress the Barryroe farm out to a satisfactory conclusion,” said Tony O’Reilly, chief executive of the Dublin-based oil and gas exploration firm.

It comes more than a year after negotiations over the farm-out of the oil field off Ireland's south coast began, a process that the company said was "taking much longer to achieve" due to unfavourable market conditions.

Studies in 2012 indicated that the Barryroe field could yield as much as 1.6 billion barrels, and be worth many billions to the Irish economy.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Oil&Gas - Providence Resources is divesting almost a third of its interest in its Spanish Point prospect, as The Irish Times reports.

The Irish oil and gas exploration company intends to sell off a 32% "non-operated interest" in the area off the coast of Co Clare, in the northern part of the Porcupine Basin, which has been shown to hold enormous reserves of oil.

Providence delayed its own exploration at Spanish Point earlier this year due to "unforeseen changes" to its joint venture at the well.

But drilling is now expected to take place in 2017 pending State approval.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Oil&Gas - Providence Resources has delayed exploration of its Spanish Point well off Co Clare "pending discussions with partners and the Government", as The Irish Times reports.

Already pushed back from last summer due to the longer-than-planned refurbishment of the Blackford Dolphin rig, the Spanish Point option - granted in January last year – was subsequently seismic surveyed for oil and gas condensate in the autumn.

The latest delay, however, comes after "recent unforeseen changes to the make-up of the joint venture".

That's according to Providence chief executive Tony O'Reilly, who adds that discussions with interested third parties for the prospect continue.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Oil&Gas - Providence Resources is talking positive about its Drombeg prospect off the south-west coast, as The Irish Times reports.

The site in the southern Porcupine Basin was surveyed last summer by the Polarcus Amani, said to be one of the greenest seismic vessels in the world, in what was one of the largest 3D seismic surveys yet carried out off Ireland.

And the preliminary results have revealed "seismic morphologies" that are "consistent with those of a large deep-water fan system".

What's more, the site has already "attracted expressions of interest from a number of major international oil companies," says Providence technical director John O'Sullivan.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Oil - Providence Resources says it is at "an advanced stage" in negotiations to farm out its Barryroe oil field prospect off Cork, as The Irish Times reports.

Commenting on the Irish energy company's half-year results released today, CEO Tony O'Reilly said the Barryroe project "remains our main priority" – with Providence aiming to return on its investment while retaining "a material stake" in the field, of which is owns 80%.

Last month, as reported on Afloat.ie, the company urged shareholders at its AGM to quell public speculation over any potential deal, which was "taking much longer to achieve" than previously expected.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Oil - Providence Resources says it is "nearing completion" of its negotiations to secure a farm-out partner for its Barryroe prospect off the Cork coast, as The Irish Times reports.

Speaking at the Irish-based oil and gas company's AGM earlier this week, CEO Tony O'Reilly also urged interested parties to hold off on any public speculation over the deal, which chairman Brian Hillery said was "taking much longer to achieve" due to "the current environment".

"It's not a question of getting a deal, it's getting the right deal," he told shareholders. "Rest assured the farm-out remains the main priority of the company."

That wasn't enough to quell some shareholders' displeasure, however, with one taking Providence to task over the drastic fall in its share price over the last 12 months - in part a result of alleged setbacks to the south coast prospect in January.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Oil - Delays in the refurbishing of the Blackford Dolphin oil rig have prompted Providence Resources to push back their appraisal drilling on Spanish Point till 2015, as Business & Leadership reports.

The Irish oil and gas firm was granted a new licensing option for the well some 160km off Spanish Point in Co Clare earlier this year, helping to put the company "in the leading position" in a zone that's rich in undersea hydrocarbons.

However, the Blackford Dolphin, which was scheduled to drill the well this summer, only recently left Belfast after a six-month refurbishment that was originally planned for just six weeks.

And the giant oil rig will no longer be headed for the Clare coast as planned, following the termination of Providence's contract with Dolphin.

With the delays meaning that drilling could not commence till October this year, Providence has chosen to postpone the project till next spring - and will also tender for another rig for the job.

Business & Leadership has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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