Exploration Policy Paper Government must signal a significant ‘step-change’ in relation to the Irish offshore companies and coastal communities in Ireland.

Statement by the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association

The Publication of a Government Policy Paper on Exploration was an opportunity to mark a significant step-change in policy and regulations to restore confidence to a sector which is trying to repeat the success of the Kinsale Head and Corrib gas fields, according to the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association (IOOA).

The representative body for companies licensed to explore for and produce oil and gas off the Irish coast says the document will be examined by the Association to ensure the Government is serious about delivering on a commitment to allow existing exploration licences to proceed unhindered, and to assess if this Government is absolutely committed to supporting companies and communities in the west of Ireland who are seeking to repeat the success of the Kinsale Head and Corrib gas fields, which have powered Ireland for over four decades.

Mandy Johnston, CEO of IOOA, added

“The publication of the Government Policy Paper is welcome; in that it echoes the Climate Action Plan in recognising the importance that natural gas is going to play in Ireland’s future energy mix.  An important part of restoring confidence in the sector will be for the Government to commit to firm timelines for regulatory changes needed to deliver the commitments laid out in the paper.

Mandy Johnston, CEO of the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association

However, given the recent political uncertainty and the ongoing regulatory delays our members will now require time to consider the full implications for the sector of the latest Government policy paper ‘Policy Statement – Petroleum Exploration and Production Activities as part of Ireland’s Transition to a Low Carbon Economy’  to see if it can deliver some political and regulatory support for the vital role of natural gas in providing energy security to a vibrant economy.

Together with coastal communities right around Ireland, our member companies will want to know that the publication of this Policy Paper marks the start of a period during which they will have Government and regulatory support to build on the €1b investment they have made in Ireland over the past decade.

For those coastal communities anxious to grow marine service, transport and hospitality employment around our sector it is also important that we see an end to the uncertainty, lack of clarity and mixed messages which our sector has lived with for over two-years.

It is only by taking the correct policy and regulatory steps now that we can ensure that even more regions and communities can enjoy the €25m a year which Kinsale has pumped into the local economy in Cork and the €25m a year which Corrib has delivered for Mayo and south Donegal.”

ENDS

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