Monday, January 14, 2008

UK oil firm plans drilling in Ireland, Vietnam

British oil & gas explorer Serica Energy is planning this year to start drilling on new territories offshore Ireland and in Vietnam, Chief Executive Paul Ellis said earlier this week.

The company raised $52 million in a share placing completed on Monday to be used on new exploration and Harris said the firm was ready to expand outside existing operations in Indonesia, Norway and the North Sea.

“We raised $50 million for exploration - we have attractive licenses off the West Coast of Ireland and we want to get those drilled as soon as we can,” he said in a telephone interview.

“They are look-a-like prospects to Shell’s Corrib prospects, and are attractive partly due to the tax rate in Ireland.”

He added that drilling slots were booked for Ireland - although due to weather restrictions it was not definite the wells would be drilled this year.

The firm hopes to begin drilling in Vietnam in September or October.

Ellis said the firm was unlikely to take part in any consolidation of the small-cap oil and gas sector, despite a lack of production.

“We are an exploration play with no production-not a great position to be in with oil prices the way they are,” he said.

“It would be nice to have production now but the firm is still at an early stage.”