Plans to drill an oil exploration well at Woodburn Forest have been delayed after a key funder withdrew from the project.
The announcement was made this week by oil exploration and gas storage firm InfraStrata, who are leading the operation.
Drilling had been scheduled to commence at the rural location next month.
In a statement, a spokesperson for InfraStrata said: “With regard to funding, it is disappointing to report that Larne Oil and Gas Limited (“Larne”), who exercised an option to acquire an interest in the project in September 2014, have run into funding difficulties and will no longer be participating in the project.
“The licence interest for InfraStrata will therefore revert to the prefarmout 45 percent level with a 15 percent working interest carried by existing partners Terrain Energy Limited and Brigantes Energy Limited. InfraStrata also holds a 50 percent beneficial interest in adjacent offshore licence P2123.”
Whilst the terms of Larne’s exit are being resolved, the partners are currently in discussions with a number of parties to secure approximately £2.8 million to complete the funding of the well so that it can be drilled this winter, the statement added.
Andrew Hindle, CEO of InfraStrata said: “Whilst we are disappointed that Larne will no longer be participating in the project, significant progress has been made in recent months towards drilling the first exploration well on the PL1/10 licence area in over 40 years. The lower costs of onshore operations mean that onshore projects are expected to remain profitable at lower oil prices if they were to persist.
“The company remains fully committed to the Woodburn Forest-1 well.”