Petro River Oil Corp. has announced that the analysis of its first exploratory well – Woodburn Forest #1 – located in Larne Basin, Northern Ireland, confirmed the presence of an active petroleum system in the Larne Basin. The drilling of the well detected background gas in the drilling fluid, and samples were sent to Applied Petroleum Technology UK Ltd, an internationally-recognised consultancy with an independent geochemical laboratory in Oslo, Norway.
APT’s report determined that the gas was thermogenic, likely originating from deeper Carboniferous shales. The samples were similar to a gas sample from a producing gas field in Lancashire, England, just across the North Channel.
The discovery of thermogenic gas limits the risks associated with Petro River’s Larne Basin exploration program by providing further evidence of a mature source rock within the basin, and supports Petro River’s prior estimates of prospective resources of more than 1 billion barrels of potential oil and gas equivalents across the license. Carboniferous-sourced basins throughout Europe have historically been very prolific. By fulfilling the current work program, the onshore license has been extended for a 5-year period, which affords ample time for the Company to work with Horizon Energy Partners, LLC and other partners to develop Phase II of the exploration program, which includes the following:
- Reprocess 2-D seismic data. The joint venture partners are currently reprocessing a closely-spaced 2-D grid of 1,100 line kilometers of offshore seismic data acquired in 2009. When finalised, the reprocessing should provide clearer structural imaging within the Carboniferous, better trap definition in the Triassic and Permian and possibly show hydrocarbon indicators in the shallower formations. We intend to “shoot” several 2D tie lines which will tie the offshore and onshore data sets. Management estimates completion of 2-D seismic reprocessing by the end of October, 2016.
- Reprocess 3-D seismic. A small 3-D survey in the area, originally acquired from a nearby salt storage project, may also be reprocessed during the next several months.
- Evaluation of Offshore Drilling Program. The offshore portion of the basin does not contain surface basalts. As such, the seismic data quality is markedly better. The next steps in the exploration effort may be acquisition of a new 3-D seismic or further exploratory drilling – funded either internally or through a farm-out transaction.