Exploration group Providence Resources has reported good industry interest in finding a strategic farm-in partner for its Barryroe project in the North Celtic Sea. 

In an end of year trading statement, the company said that talks are continuing with a select number of companies from Asia, North America and Europe. 

But it added that while it is currently in negotiations with parties on deal terms, "there can be no certainty on timing for a mutually acceptable agreement or that an agreement will be reached".

Providence Resources said that 2013 was a year of steady progress for the company.

Its operations were mainly focused on progressing its multi-well drilling programme off the coast of Ireland, in particular its Barryroe oil field and the Dunquin exploration prospect.

Pre-drill operations are underway for the four remaining wells to be drilled during 2014 and 2015 at Spanish Point, Dragon, Polaris and Kish Bank.   

The company's chief executive Tony O'Reilly said that given the scale and quality of Providence's portfolio it is "very surprising" to see the "significant" erosion in its stock market valuation over the past six months. 

He said the company's board is keenly focused on the issue and, in addition to its focus on its commercial negotiations, Mr O'Reilly added that the company is working to rectify this by ensuring that the Providence investment proposition is known to as broad an investment community as possible.

"Looking ahead, the prospects for the Irish oil and gas sector have never looked brighter, and Providence fully intends to carry on leading the way in realising the significant potential that exists in the region.  We continue to look to the future with confidence," he added.