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Airbus Defence & Space and Spectrum conduct a joint analysis of offshore Porcupine Basin potential; radar satellites plus 2D seismic data

Airbus Defence and Space and seismic multi-client acquisition and imaging specialist Spectrum Geo launched a 2D seismic and seep study program for the Porcupine Basin, approximately 120 km (75 miles) offshore West of Ireland, just ahead of the Irish Licensing Round. This joint analysis correlates natural oil seeps identified from radar satellites with 2D seismic data to assist hydrocarbon exploration in this region and is set to provide additional insight into the prospectivity of Irish waters.

The Porcupine Basin, part of the Ireland Atlantic margin, has had limited exploration over the last 30 years. Initial drilling in the shallower waters of the northern Porcupine Basin saw the discovery of three hydrocarbon accumulations. Two wells were spudded in the Southern Porcupine Basin in the 1980s, one of which found traces of oil. However, a report from ExxonMobil stated that water-breached reservoir they discovered in 2013 had initially held 1.2 billion boe; indications are that nearby Dunquin South prospect could be even bigger.

The Dunquin well proved the presence of an Early Cretaceous carbonate play concept within a large structure with hydrocarbon shows that appears to have been breached. There are similar undrilled ‘Dunquin’ style prospects with thicker top seal seen on the PORC97 reprocessed seismic survey. With a proven reservoir and hydrocarbon source basin, the challenge for the 2015 Licence Round is to use the new seismic data to define large hydrocarbon charged structures for drilling.

—Wrigley et al.

More recently, Europa Oil released further encouraging information regarding the Porcupine Basin, following a Competent Persons Report that estimated total gross mean un-risked prospective resources in three prospects (Wilde, Beckett and Shaw) of 1.49 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

The Airbus/Spectrum analysis draws on the expertise of the individual partners, combining Spectrum Geo’s sub-surface seismic information with Airbus Defence and Space’s surface seeps data.

Spectrum has reprocessed 14,000 km (8,700 miles) of regional 2D seismic data, complementing preceding surveys and integrating gravity, magnetics and well data. An updated extract from the Airbus Defence and Space Global Seeps Database provides sea surface slick locations together with confidence levels based on the analysis of multi-temporal satellite radar data.

The partners said the results are encouraging with a strong correlation between higher confidence slicks and seismic features.

These results will offer a new perspective on the hydrocarbon potential in the region, supporting both the ongoing licensing round and future exploration.



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