Shares in exploration company Providence Resources have risen sharply after it said it has struck oil off the Irish coast.

This morning it announced that its Barryroe well off the coast of Cork had delivered the first potential commercial flow rate of oil offshore of Ireland.

Oil and gas is successfully flowing from the well at double the rate expected. The find is 50km out to sea, and 100 metres deep.

Providence has an 80% stake in Barryroe, with Lansdowne Oil & Gas holding the remaining 20%.

Providence CEO Tony O'Reilly said the flow rates of 3,514 barrels of oil per day (bopd) at the well were well ahead of the company's pre-drilling expectations of 1,800 bopd. He added that drilling had shown that the oils were of a very high quality. Further tests are now planned at the well.

He told RTÉ's Morning Ireland there was more work to be done at Barryroe, but he hoped the find would put Ireland on the map and attract more oil and gas exploration investment to the country.

Providence shares closed almost 12% higher at €5.76 in Dublin this evening.