Irving Oil buys Ireland's only refinery

Aug 03, 2016 12:00 AM

The sale of the only oil refinery in Ireland to a Canadian company is a win for the country's energy security, the Irish climate minister said Wednesday.

For an undisclosed sum, private Canadian energy company Irving Oil brokered a sales and purchase agreement with Phillips66 to buy the Whitegate oil refinery, the only refinery in Ireland. Whitegate supplies as much as 40 percent of the petroleum products to the Irish market.

Environment Minister Denis Naughten said a secure source of energy supplies was a pillar for economic growth in Ireland and vital to its core energy policies.

"The continued operation of the refinery at Whitegate on a commercial basis is an important part of our security of supply," he said in a statement.

Naughten in June signed a declaration of North Sea countries that called for closer cooperation in avenues like grid connectivity and regional developments for offshore wind.

By 2050, Irish national guidelines call for renewable resources to overtake fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas emissions tied to the Irish energy sector would fall to zero by the end of the century under a national scheme.

Nevertheless, the government is hedging its bets on the offshore reserve potential. Four years ago, the government said offshore reserves produced 14 billion cubic feet of natural gas, but no oil. Ireland imports all of its oil and relies in foreign sources for 90 percent of its natural gas needs.

For Irving, the deal extends its reach from eastern Canada to the western European market. The company operates Canada's largest oil refinery and said it aims to extend that excellence across the Atlantic.

"It's a good day for our company and we're looking forward to welcoming the Whitegate team to Irving Oil," Chairman Arthur Irving said in a statement.

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