Twenty-six County Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey, announced that the assesment is to begin immediately in preparation for the issuing of a further round of hydrocarbon exploration licenses for the area later this year. The S.E.A will focus on identifying what level of impact any explorations will have on the marine environment of the area in question.
The Porcupine basin is an underwater geological structure, tens of of thousands of square kilometers in size, located off the Coast of Clare, Limerick and Kerry.
Previous explorations of the Porcupine basin indicate potentially significant oil and gas reserves. Providence, the energy company owned by Tony O'Reilly, for example, already owns the rights to two major finds in the area. The first is the Spanish Point reserve off the coast of Clare which is estimated to contain more than two hundred million barrels of oil and one trillion cubic feet of gas. At current market prices the value of these reserves would be close to twenty billion euros.
The second O'Reilly owned reserve is Dunquin, two hundred kilometers off the coast of Kerry. This reserve is estimated to contain more than four billion barrels of oil and twenty-five trillion cubic feet of gas which in monetary terms could be worth close to four hundred billion euro.
Commenting on the issuing of further exploration licenses éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson stated, ‘This announcement by Noel Dempsey tells us that it is business as usual for the energy companies and their friends in government.
The great oil and gas giveaway is continuing apace with Fianna Fail intent on handing over every last drop of Irish oil and every last foot of Irish gas.
‘The excuses that were used twenty years ago by Ray Burke when he started the giveaway no longer have any validity. At that time Burke claimed that he had to provide incentives to the energy companies to invest in exploration in Ireland. The fact that oil and gas prices are now dramatically higher than they were in 1987 removes the need for any additional incentives.
‘The only thing that the people of Ireland are going to see from their own energy reserves is higher gas and electricity bills. The government should cease all issuing of new exploration licenses pending a complete review of the terms under which such licenses are issued. In addition all contracts signed under the legislation enacted by the corrupt minister Burke should be declared null and void.'