Record bids for Ireland frontier round

Offshore staff

DUBLIN, Ireland – Ireland’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has received 15 separate applications in the country’s 2011 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round.

Minister Pat Rabbitte said this was the largest number received in any Irish round, and welcomed the fact that some applications had come from companies not currently active in offshore Ireland.

Speaking last week at the Energy Ireland Conference in Dublin, Rabbitte said the level of exploration activity in the Irish offshore up to now had been relatively low.

“To successfully attract a greater share of mobile international exploration investment to Ireland, we need a number of basic requirements,” he said. “Firstly, we must maintain a realistic tax regime that reflects our relative attractiveness as a place to invest in petroleum exploration.

“Secondly, we need an approach to licensing that is designed to attract new companies to Ireland and to encourage those companies already here to increase their activity levels.”

He also underlined the need for Ireland to maintain a regulatory framework appropriate in terms of its transparency and effectiveness.

“Another priority…is to facilitate, wherever possible, the commercial development of gas storage facilities. Following a public consultation period on the regulatory options for offshore commercial gas storage, work is now under way in my department on the drafting of legislative proposals. It is my intention, over the coming months, to seek government approval for the drafting and publication of a bill to provide an appropriate regulatory framework.”

Rabbitte added that forthcoming gas from Shell’s offshore Corrib field was critical to the security of Ireland’s energy supply, and would encourage further exploration in Irish waters.

“I look forward to the completion of the remaining elements of the construction phase of the project and to the commencement of the production of gas,” he said. “At peak production Corrib will provide over 60% of Ireland’s natural gas needs.”


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