Exploration company Providence Resources has been offered an exploration licence for an area in the St George's Channel off the Welsh coast.

Providence's UK subsidiary PR Singleton will be the operator of the block, called 103/1, and will have a 50% stake. Star Energy Oil & Gas will hold the remaining 50%. The block contains the Dragon gas discovery.

Providence chief executive Tony O’Reilly said the block was adjacent to Irish licence SEL 1/07 which Providence operates 100%.

"The Dragon gas discovery is mapped to lie within both the UK and Irish sectors and the award of this new block will allow Providence to move forward with the drilling of its planned appraisal well,” he said.