Providence Resources has reported an operating loss of €7.23m for the year to the end of December, up from a loss of €5.4m in 2012.

The firm, which is in the middle of the largest drilling programme ever undertaken off the coast of Ireland, said the higher losses were due to higher administration expenses on the back of increased activity across its portfolio.

Exploration and appraisal work at two of its wells - Barryroe and Dunquin - have been completed. Pre-drill operations and planning are underway for four different wells at Spanish Point, Dragon, Polaris and Kish Bank.

By the end of the year, the exploration company said it had €8.998m in cash and cash equivalent.

The company said it had entered into a new $24m general working capital facility with US based financial provider Melody Business Finance earlier this month.

Providence chief executive Tony O'Reilly said the company was optimistic about the prospects for the Irish oil and gas sector.

"Providence fully intends to carry on leading the way on behalf of shareholders in identifying and realising the significant potential that exists offshore Ireland," Mr O'Reilly added.