Lansdowne Oil & Gas

Securing data

Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Lansdowne Oil & Gas was established in 2006 as an independent oil and gas exploration company.

The business is focused on exploration and appraisal opportunities in the North Celtic Sea Basin (NCSB) offshore southern Ireland. Through its various wholly owned subsidiaries, Lansdowne holds the rights to four Standard Exploration Licences, and two Licensing Options in the proven oil and gas prone shallow waters of the NCSB.

Within its range of assets Lansdowne has two oil discoveries – Barryroe and Helvick, as well as low risk gas prospects near the producing infrastructure Kinsale Head Gas field and larger oil exploration prospects, the principal one of which is known as Amergin. In terms of progressing this portfolio further, CEO Steve Boldy highlights the company’s current activities: “This year we are shooting an extensive 3D seismic programme starting with the Barryroe appraisal project and then moving on to cover some of the exploration areas. Once we have the results of that later this year, we would then look to farm-down to bring in other oil and gas companies for drilling wells in 2012.

“Although there has been production in the NCSB for many years through the Kinsale Head Gas field, and a number of oil discoveries including Barryroe, the area suffers from variable quality seismic data. This has hampered exploration and a number of wells that have been drilled can now be seen to have not been located on proper structures because the data was so poor. In 2008 we shot some new 2D seismic data over the Amergin prospect, which was much better and enabled us to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve higher quality data in the NCSB. Now we are moving on to 3D seismic data, which today is effectively essential in producing basins prior to drilling.”

In order to undertake this programme, Lansdowne has contracted a new 3D seismic vessel from Dubai-based Polarcus, which is currently preparing for the five-week survey. Steve notes some of Lansdowne’s ambitions following this work: “We are very optimistic about the current planned programme, and believe that we can gain a lot more information from 3D seismic data. This year we have focused the programme on our most advanced prospects, but if we are successful in gathering strong 3D data, we will then look to follow up other identified opportunities with further seismic studies.”

With this 3D data expected to boost Lansdowne’s portfolio and open up new opportunities, it is important that the business has a strong underlying structure to support such activities. With this in mind, Steve highlights some of its core strengths: “Both myself, and my colleagues have a long history of working within the NCSB. Therefore we are aware of the previous exploration activities that have taken place, and have firm knowledge of the geology of the basin. I also believe that the application of 3D seismic technology is another way that we differentiate ourselves from others operating in the basin, as we are able to offer potential farminees prospects detailed with this data.

“As a business we have taken the position of focusing our portfolio in the Celtic Sea, where we believe we have a good chance of delivering enormous value. The area is a shallow water basin (water depths between 270 ft and 350 ft), and reservoir depths are also relatively shallow, and this means that costs are reasonable. As a small oil company, the proven history of the NCSB in terms of oil and gas resources has made it an attractive proposition for Lansdowne.”

Whilst these qualities have attracted Lansdowne to the NCSB, the region is not without its challenges: “The main task is trying to establish oil production in the NCSB. Whilst gas has been produced since the late 1970’s, and there have been a number of oil discoveries, to date there has been no commercial oil production. This is something we are keen to see happening, as this will drive the whole basin forwards. With the appraisal programme planned for Barryroe this year, I believe it is likely this could become the first producing field in the basin. As part of this appraisal programme, we have plans with Providence – the current operator of Barryroe – to drill an appraisal well later this year,” adds Steve.

As he concludes, Lansdowne’s portfolio demonstrates considerable scope for further development, something that the business is keen to exploit: “As a business we are remaining focused on the early part of the exploration and production process – we don’t have any ambitions to become a long term producer of oil and gas. Certainly we believe that we have a business model that we can replicate across our other prospects, and depending upon the success of the business over the next few years will look for opportunities to crystallise value for our shareholders. Given the scope of the basin in the Celtic Sea I believe that there are certainly additional opportunities to pursue exploration and appraisal projects for at least the next few years.”

Lansdowne Oil & Gas
Activities: Exploration and appraisal