London - A major oil field has been found off the coast of Ireland.

It is the first time a commercially viable offshore source has been struck in the Republic and the discovery is being likened to a lottery win.

The Barryroe well off Cork is more than 300ft deep and is producing 3,514 barrels of high- quality oil a day – twice the rate initially hoped for.

With the price of a barrel at £78 (about R900), the well is capable of earning £100 million a year. It also produces 2.93 million cubic feet of gas daily.

Tony O’Reilly, of Providence Resources, which made the find, said it was ‘a defining moment for the Irish offshore oil and gas industry’ and could spark huge investment in the country.

“It’s just like winning the lottery: you’ve got to buy tickets. So in the case of the oil and gas industry we need more wells,” he said.

“Ireland is massively under explored and so hopefully this is a catalyst to actually get more investment in the Irish offshore.”

Ireland’s coastal basins have long been known to harbour valuable natural resources but exploration has been held back by a lack of technology and low oil prices making it uneconomic to start up production.

The country was in need of a financial boost with its public finances in such disorder. Dublin will soon have to ask lender nations for a second bailout. - Daily Mail