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Major oil discovery made off the coast of Ireland

Ireland could become an oil producer as first commercially viable oil well is found south of Cork.

Ireland could become an oil producer as first commercially viable oil well is found south of Cork.

Ireland's first commercial oil discovery, confirmed in March 2012 just days before St Patrick's, could produce up to 10 billion barrels of oil.

Barryroe oil well, located 50km off the Irish coast in the North Celtic Sea Basin, is more than 300ft deep and is producing 3,514 barrels of high-quality oil a day. However, production is expected to reach as much as 20,000 barrels a day when production commences at the field in the next three years.

Irish oil and gas company Providence Resources, which owns the Barryroe well, hopes that the surrounding field will contain many further viable wells.

The oil discovery was welcomed by the Irish government, which is still struggling with the economic crisis and the terms of the €67 billion bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Oil was first discovered off the Irish coast in the 1970s, but exploration was never commercial due to low oil prices and lack of technology.

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