Exploration company Providence Resources has said that despite the continued fall in oil prices, it has seen an increased interest in its portfolio.

In a trading update for 2015, the company said that work continues with a number of parties to progress its Barryroe farm-out project in the North Celtic Sea Basin to a "satisfactory conclusion".

Providence noted that a drop in overall costs - and especially drilling costs - is helping to drive this activity. Drilling costs are now at a seven year low. 

During the year, the company expanded its participation in a number of licenses off the coast of Ireland.

These included a deal to buy a further 26% in the Spanish Point site in the Northern Porcupine Basin as well as the purchase of another 4% in the Dunquin prospect in the Southern Porcupine Basin and an increase in its interest in Kish Bank prospect to 100%.

Earlier this month, Providence also secured an option over a site in the North Celtic Sea Basin, which lies near the Barryroe oil field and which the company believes hosts a "potential material extension" to the Barryroe field.

Providence said that due to the challenging global industry environment, it continuously reviews its capital structure and cost base. To this end, it has agreed an extension of the company's loan facility with Melody Finance to May 2018 - if required. 

During the year, the company also started a cost reduction programme to remove non-essential costs from the business, which Providence said will result in "meaningful savings" in the future.

The company's chief executive Tony O'Reilly said that in common with its peers, Providence has been impacted by the fall in oil prices.

Mr O'Reilly said this has led to a significant divergence between the market value of the company and the intrinsic value of its substantial resource base. 

"Despite the market turbulence of 2015, we believe the company's Irish-centric strategy can deliver appreciable returns for our shareholders, as Providence is uniquely positioned to benefit from the inward investment and drilling activities which are planned for 2016/17," Mr O'Reilly stated. 

"We also believe that the record number of applications for the 2015 Irish Atlantic Margin Licensing Round further support the value of our exploration and appraisal portfolio," he added.