An Irish exploration company has hit oil off the Cork coast – and the find is commercially viable.

The find could make a massive difference to the Irish economy and provide a much needed boost at a critical time.

Providence Resources is already bringing in 3,514 barrels of oil a day from its well at Barryrow, 50 kilometres off the Cork coastline.

The flow is almost double the 1800 barrels of oil per day needed to make the find commercially viable.

The company is also testing for gas flow rates in the Cork field.

Chief executive Tony O’Reilly confirmed the flow rates at a 100-metre depth in the North Celtic Sea Basin to the Irish state broadcaster RTE.

“The well has also confirmed that the basal sands are laterally continuous, highly productive and that the oils are of a very high quality,” he said.

The test area covers 300 sq km which is equivalent to a medium to large North Sea oil field.
Providence also confirmed to the Dublin and London stock exchanges that the find is bigger than expected with much better flow rates than first hoped for.

“There is more work to be done but we hope the find will put Ireland on the map and attract more gas and oil exploration to the country,” added O’Reilly.

Shares in Providence Resources have soared in the past month after the company announced it had found light crude oil in a large sandstone reservoir about 7,550ft under the sea off the south coast.

Industry analysts said the well must produce about 1,800 barrels of oil or gas equivalent every day to make commercial sense. The company’s technical director John O’Sullivan told RTE that Providence could now look forward to materially progressing the project.

“These sands, which appear to have an intact overlying pressure seal, sit directly on proven, mature and oil-prone source rock and therefore open the route to significant resource volumes within the Barryroe licence area,” he said.