Energy explorer Providence Resources – whose biggest shareholder is beef baron Larry Goodman – is proposing to change its name to Barryroe Offshore Energy to reflect the company’s focus on appraising the Barryroe oil and gas field off the Irish coast.
But the company’s plans to advance exploration and eventual extraction at the field off the coast of Cork remain stalled.
"The key barrier to progressing the project is the delay in ministerial consent for the lease undertaking, to permit us to drill an appraisal well next year,” said executive chairman James Menton on Thursday as Providence released its annual report.
“Once we have the results of this appraisal well, we are confident that our development plans can be progressed rapidly and Barryroe can have a significant impact on Ireland’s security of energy supply over the next two decades,” he insisted.
The company hopes that if an appraisal well can be drilled next year, production can begin in 2026.
Mr Goodman has lifted his stake in Providence to just over 16pc through his Vevan vehicle. That’s nearly double the holding he held earlier this week.
Providence said on Thursday there is “no justification” for the delay by Environment Minister Eamon Ryan to grant the lease undertaking that’s been sought to develop the field.
“The board believes that Minister Ryan’s delay in progressing the application represents a clear missed opportunity to help to ensure Ireland’s energy security,” it added.
“As a bloc, the EU is desperately scrambling for options to move away from its dependence on Russian oil and gas and maintain future energy security,” the company noted.
“As Ireland moves towards a much bigger share of renewable sources through the transition to 2050, there will be an ongoing, albeit diminishing, level of residual demand for oil and gas to meet Ireland’s energy consumption needs,” it said.
Ireland’s only major commercial gas field is Corrib, off the west coast. Its owner, Canada’s Vermilion Energy, has seen its revenue and profits soar over the past year on the back of surging energy prices.
Ireland has a target of having 70pc of its energy needs sourced from renewables by 2030. The Government wants 5GW of offshore wind energy capacity installed by that date.
But rising energy demands mean there is still a need for additional gas-fuelled power stations amid the major transition to renewables. The ESB recently signed deals for the construction of three new gas-fired power plants in Dublin.