Providence Resources, an Irish oil exploration company, has confirmed that they have discovered between 1 billion and 1.6 billion barrels of oil off the coast of Ireland following months of exploration at the Barryroe well site.

BBC News reports that Providence Resources first announced that they had found Ireland’s first commercially viable oil well back in March at the site of Barryroe off the coast of Cork. Their exploration into just how much oil was at the site exceeded their expectations, saying that the discovery was four times larger than they had anticipated.

Tony O’Reilly Jr, the company’s chief executive, said, "It's a big resource by any standard - obviously very big for Ireland, but also even from a UK perspective, North Sea perspective, it would rank up there as one of the bigger discoveries."

Indeed, O’Reilly went on to describe the site of the Barryroe well as “the well that just keeps on giving.”

He added that the site, just 70km from the coast of Cork, was a “positive development” and that he hoped it could spark inward investment as well as further oil exploration around Ireland.

"Now it's a question of moving it forward to how much of that oil can we get out of the ground and how quickly can we do it?" said O’Reilly Jr.

"The first thing you always want to start off with is do you have a big enough cake and then it's a question of how do you slice that cake to optimise the return for your shareholders and indeed all the stakeholders?"

O’Reilly Jr added that Providence Resources would have to go through the “due process” in order to gain permits to extract the oil from the site.

Should they gain the rights to the oil, O’Reilly Jr is hopeful that the discovery will be beneficial for the businesses and people of Ireland.

"The island of Ireland is a pretty good place to do business. The fiscal regime in Ireland for oil and gas exploration and exploitation is probably one of the more attractive fiscal regimes in the world."

Currently, Ireland imports 100 percent of its oil, according to The Guardian. A quarter of it is refined at a site not far from Barryroe.

"Ireland consumes about 140,000 barrels of imported oil every day so imagine if the country started producing its own,” O’Reilly Jr told The Guardian. “In terms of security of supply, the jobs created and the revenue to the taxpayer this is very good news for the entire island at a time of recession."

“The exchequer would get sizable income from the successful exploitation of offshore fields both in Northern Ireland and the Republic."