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Luck of the Irish Returns in Oil Find

When Irish people talk about black gold, they’re usually referring to Guinness. That may be about to change, after an Irish company discovered the first ever commercial oil field off Ireland’s coast.

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Daniel Hurst | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Providence Resources, the oil and gas explorer backed by Irish entrepreneur Sir Anthony O’Reilly, announced that it had found oil flow rates of almost twice the commercial threshold in the Ballyroe field, part of the North Celtic Sea Basin, on Thursday – just in time for St Patrick’s Day.

The search for oil and gas under the sea bed near Ireland shows the increasing lengths resources companies have to go to for new sources of hydrocarbons.

Exxon, one of the world’s largest oil companies, has already committed to drill for gas at the Dunquin gas prospect.

Ireland’s economy, still reeling from the after-effects of the property market crash and banking sector trauma, could certainly do with a boost. While there have been some promising recent signs, unemployment is still around 14 percent and mass emigration has returned to the island.

Providence, whose chief executive is Tony O'Reilly Jr, is operating the well on behalf of partner Lansdowne Oil & Gas.

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  • Co-CEO, Revere Digital; Co-Executive Editor, Re/code; and Co-Executive Producer, The Code Conference. Re/code is part of the CNBC network.

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