While modern exploration of oil and gas began in 1902, with aggressive systematic searching started in1934, Ireland was a bit behind schedule. In Ireland the search for gas and oil began in the 1960s. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up we thought we’d look into the Irish oil history.
The Start of Oil & Gas in Ireland
It started with merely six different wells drilled onshore in the early 1960s. The first two wells drilled were disappointing as far as production. Once the drilling moved offshore in the North Celtic Sea Basin they began to have a little more success, but it was not exactly a boom. The third well that was drilled offshore lead to the discovery of the Kinsale Head gas field, which produces from lower Cretaceous sandstones. It came on stream in 1978 and made a big impact on oil and gas production in Ireland. The biggest of which was not felt until 1999 when production from the southwestern lobe began.
Modern Gas and Oil in Ireland
Though the Kinsale Head field has been depleted of natural resources it is still used as a gas storage facility as of 2006. It also contributed to the Seven Heads gas field coming onstream via a subsea tie back into their facilities. This field is still be utilized but only accounts for around 5% of Ireland’s gas usage.
The Corrib Gas Field off the coast of Mayo was discovered in 1996 by Enterprise Oil and became a commercial drilling spot in 2001. It officially came into production in 2015. This was the most recent addition to the production of gas and oil in Ireland.
There has been much momentum in the exploration of offshore drilling in Ireland in recent years. Great amounts of seismic data has been acquired indicating more drilling is coming up. However Ireland remains rather unexplored for offshore drilling. There have been less than 160 exploratory and appraisal wells offshore since 1971, considerably less than some of our paramours such as UK and Norway. Ireland still gets 94% of its natural gas imported.
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