Next steps – the granting of a Petroleum Licence.
This is the preliminary stage, where we have applied for a Petroleum Licence from the Department for the Economy. If granted this Petroleum Licence will be for five years, and after three years of the licence have passed we will indicate to the Department for the Economy whether we intend to proceed to exploratory drilling or drop the petroleum licence.
Part 1 – Soil Sampling Surveys – Year 1-2
The first stage will be a study of soil gas geochemistry, which involves extracting a small amount of soil from just below the surface at locations across the licence area. This will be carried out with a small shovel, trowel or hand auger and just a handful of soil will be collected at each site. These samples will be analysed to identify and locate microseepage of hydrocarbons from reservoirs deep below the surface. This work will be carried out with full understanding and agreement of landowners.
This process will take more than a year to complete and will provide us with enough information to determine whether or not we wish to move to the next stage. At this stage it is likely that we will be in a position to significantly reduce the area of our Petroleum Licence.
Part 2 – Seismic Imaging – Year 2-3
This would be followed up by seismic testing in the areas where the soil samples are the most positive, which would allow the identification of the areas where exploratory drilling would be best utilised. Seismic imaging is a process by which sound waves are bounced off underground rock layers to help build an image of the geological structure below the surface.
Part 3 – Exploratory Slimhole Drilling – Years 4-5
If the results from Part 1 and 2 are positive we should have identified one or more areas suitable for exploratory drilling. By this stage, our investigations will have identified the key areas for exploratory drilling. If we proceed to this stage we intend to use slim hole drilling, which is significantly smaller in scale than the traditional exploration drilling method. To undertake exploratory drilling we would have to obtain all the necessary planning permissions and other consents before commencement.