Shares in Providence Resources soared over 20% today after it said it and its partners had signed a Farm-Out Agreement with China's APEC for its Barryroe site off the coast of Ireland.

APEC is a privately owned Chinese company which has a partnership with China Oilfield Services and JIC Capital Management Limited.

It invests and develops offshore oil and gas opportunities around the world, using Chinese drilling units, services and equipment.

Under the terms of the deal, APEC is getting a 50% working interest in the SEL1/11 licence in the North Celtic Sea Basin. 

Providence Resources' chief executive Tony O'Reilly said the deal was significant and would deliver multiple new penetrations of the already extensive Barryroe field. 

"In addition, it also provides for the acquisition of modern dynamic well test data that should assist in advancing the field to production," Mr O'Reilly said. 

He said that over the coming months, the company will work with APEC to finalise the specific timeline and the precise details of the drilling programme. 

"We are very pleased to have agreed this deal, which will allow us to avail of 'state of the art' drilling units and technical capabilities in order to advance Barryroe to first oil," he added.

Colin Lui , Chairman of APEC Energy Enterprise, said the Barryroe field has significant recoverable resources and it looked forward to jointly developing the field. 

"Whilst the Farm-Out Agreement has been agreed specifically for Barryroe, the parties have also agreed to jointly investigate further opportunities in other licensed blocks offshore Ireland in the future," he added. 

Shares in the company were higher in Dublin trade today.