Oil giants Statoil and ExxonMobil have won six offshore licences in Ireland.
Statoil will be the operator of four of them while ExxonMobil will operate the remaining two.
The companies hold 50% stake each in all the licensing options.
The works will be carried out after seismic surveys which will take place this year and in 2017.
Statoil said the analysis of the seismic data will determine whether the company will drill at a later stage.
Erling Vågnes, Senior Vice President, Exploration Northern Hemisphere at Statoil said: “This supports Statoil’s exploration strategy of early access at scale and enables us to apply the exploration knowledge and experience we have gained globally and specifically on the conjugate margin offshore Newfoundland.”