Providence Resources has said that 2018 was another year of significant progress for the exploration company.

In a trading update for the year to December, the company said its main focus was the finalisation of the Barryroe farm-out in advance of a multi-well drilling programme planned to start in 2019.

Providence said the future development of Barryroe will, along with existing production from Corrib, further facilitate national energy independence at a time of growing geopolitical risk within global energy markets. 

But the company said it was "very frustrated" by the delay to the planned site survey of Barryroe, which was announced last month.

"With the site-survey permission being subject to a legal challenge and the vessel being delayed due to bad weather elsewhere, we felt that it was in the best interest for the overall programme not to act on the granted site-survey permission and re-apply, thereby avoiding any unnecessary costs and possible further delays associated with the judicial review proceedings," the company's chief executive Tony O'Reilly said. 

He said that while the rescheduling will delay the planned commencement of drilling at Barryroe, the company believes that it does not materially impact the timing of the overall delivery of this significant drilling programme. 

"Subject to contract finalisation and the receipt of all necessary permits and consents, we currently envisage rig mobilisation and drilling to commence in Q3 2019," Mr O'Reilly said.

Providence is also advancing a number of high impact exploration prospects in the Atlantic Margin.  

The company has an interest in four significant exploration prospects - Diablo, Dunquin South, Avalon and Newgrange - in the southern Porcupine Basin.

It said it will keenly follow the CNOOC-Nexen/ExxonMobil Iolar well, which is planned to be drilled in the basin next spring.  

"Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on delivering our various programmes and here, with the planned programme at Barryroe, we continue to be by far the most active player offshore Ireland in terms of drilling activity, commercial deals and collaborations with world-class partners," the CEO said. 

"Looking ahead, we have the portfolio, partners, people and financial resources in place to advance our portfolio through exploration and appraisal drilling for the benefit of all our shareholders and to progress energy independence for Ireland," he added.