Ireland urges exploration firms to drill for gas

Jan 04, 2007 01:00 AM

The Irish Government invited more exploration firms to drill for gas in the Porcupine Basin off Ireland’s south west coast.
Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey has offered drilling licences for an area covering 63,500 sq km of the sea bed.

Mr Dempsey warned that the country was relying too heavily on imported gas and needed to harness its own resources.
“Ireland needs an indigenous gas supply. At present we import more than 85 % of our gas requirements,” he said. “This is in stark contrast to the position 10 years ago, when about 95 % of our gas requirement came from indigenous supplies through the Kinsale Field. Only five exploration wells have been drilled in the Porcupine area in the last 20 years and though the area may have considerable potential, to this day it remains under-explored.”

Mr Dempsey said independent experts will carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the exploration zones including a public consultation process, before the licences are awarded.The minister said he expects consultants to report back on a 2006 review of the existing licensing terms for the Porcupine.
It is expected that applications for the new licences will be invited in May with a closing date for applications of end October. Applications may be made for a maximum of three blocks in the north of the Porcupine Basin and for a maximum of six blocks in the south of the Basin.

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