The Irish Government has awarded 14 new options as part of phase 2 of the 2015 Atlantic margin licensing round.

This follows on from the first round in February this year.

As part of the 2015 licensing round, a total of 28 new options have been awarded.

Companies that have secured these licensing options will carry out work programmes that will further understanding of the petroleum potential of offshore Ireland.

"The response is by far the largest number of applications received in any licensing round held in the Irish offshore."

Irish Minister of State for Natural Resources Seán Kyne said: "The industry response to the 2015 Round has been very positive, with a total of 43 applications for licensing options received by the deadline last September.

"The response to the 2015 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round is by far the largest number of applications received in any licensing round held in the Irish offshore."

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The awards have been offered to 11 companies, including AzEire Petroleum, Capricorn Ireland, Europa Oil and Gas, Faroe Petroleum, Petrel Resources, Ratio Petroleum, and Scotia Oil and Gas.

All these companies will serve as operators. Theseus will partner Predator, and Sosina Exploration which will partner Providence.

Licenses that are being offered in the second phase of awards are AzEire (2), Capricorn (1), Europa (4), Faroe (1), Petrel (2), Predator with Theseus as partner (1), Providence with Sosina as partner (1), Ratio (1) and Scotia (1).

Petrel Resources director David Horgan said: "These awards are an endorsement of the strong technical work of Petrel that supported our bids.

"Major and mid-cap oil companies have also taken acreage, which validates our long-standing belief that the Porcupine Basin is underexplored and has reserve potential."