Exploration company Providence Resources has reported an operating loss of €2.44m for the 12 months to the end of December.

This compares to a loss of €25.936m in 2019.

Providence said it had has no debt as at 31 December 2020.

During the year, Providence decided to take control of its Barryroe development after Norwegian oil and gas company SpotOn was unable to meet the farmout conditions for the site, describing the the move an "important strategic moment" for Providence.

Providence's Barryroe project is the most advanced and appraised oil project offshore Ireland.

"We are convinced it is the best way to deliver the full value potential from our Celtic Sea acreage for shareholders whose ongoing support is recognised and appreciated, Providence's chief executive Alan Linn said.

Providence said today that "technically and commercially" the Barryroe oil and gas field has come of age.

It said that the large fields in the North Sea are declining and smaller more challenging fields are being developed, adding that the Barryroe field economics are competitive with the best of the UK development projects.

The field is located in shallow water just 50km from shore, far enough offshore not to be visible from land and close enough to access local services in Cork.

"Currently the oil production is expected to be lifted offshore from a Floating Production Storage Offshore (FPSO) vessel by shuttle tankers," Providence said.

"The gas, when brought into production, is expected to be used to generate offshore power to both electrify the offshore processing facilities and supply electricity to the national grid by undersea cable," it added.

"Commercial technology is available to introduce carbon capture offshore by sequestering the power generation exhaust gases which, with government support, will ensure that all the electricity produced from gas offshore is carbon neutral," it added.

Meanwhile, Providence Resources also said today that Pat Plunkett, its non-executive chairman, is stepping down from its board after the company's Annual General Meeting, which will be held on 22 July.

James Menton, currently the company's senior independent non-executive director, will assume the role of Chair following the AGM.

"After five years with Providence I have decided to step down from the board to devote more time to my other business interests," Mr Plunkett said.

"Following the recent strategic decision by the board to take the management and financing of the Barryroe project in-house, this is an opportune time to hand over to new leadership. Despite the many challenges for the industry and for Providence over the past five years, the company is now well placed to finally bring the Barryroe project to fruition in the coming years," he added.