Ireland 'close to oil billions'

Irish oil rig, Barryroe Barryroe off County Cork could yield 280m barrels, Providence says

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Ireland is on the verge of securing revenue from oil that could run into billions of pounds.

Providence Resources Plc, an Irish and UK company, has confirmed its Barryroe site, 30 miles off the Cork coast, should yield 280m barrels of oil.

The money generated will depend on the market value at the time of extraction and on licensing arrangements.

Providence chief executive Tony O'Reilly Jr said this was the beginning of an Irish oil industry.

He described it as a huge success story, following decades of exploration around the Irish coast.

"The great news today is that Barryroe is on a path towards development," he told BBC Northern Ireland's Good Morning Ulster.

Mr O'Reilly said more work needed to be done and issues such as taxation revenue, security of supply and jobs needed to be addressed.

But he said: "What we are announcing is the beginning of that (oil) industry.

"We hope there is a renaissance of interest by international companies who need to come to Ireland and help us to exploit our natural resources. We cannot do it alone."

Mr O'Reilly said the oil recovery rate at Barryroe had exceeded expectations and, with oil at about $100 per barrel (77 euros; £62.5) it offered "a lot of value".

He was also swift to reject critics' suggestions that Ireland would have little role in the industry and oil would not be landed there.

"We intend to utilise the structure of Ireland. We have been very clear in that regard. It makes good business sense for us. It is mad that we would take it elsewhere," he said.

Exxon Mobil

Providence intends to attract multi-national energy giants to "farm in" to its licence, which it bought from the Irish government for a nominal fee.

The company has already secured the expertise of the world's leading oil multi-national, Exxon Mobil, to explore its site at Drumquin.

However, campaigners have said that Ireland's relaxed laws with regard to its natural resources ought to be overhauled.

Ireland takes 25% of all profits, rising to 40% depending on the volume extracted.

Ireland's Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte concedes that the take is much lower than in the UK, or Norway, both of which have much greater resources of oil and gas.

But he says that the rate must remain attractive to foreign companies as Ireland does not have the expertise or revenue to exploit the reserves itself.

Others point out that all exploration costs can be off-set against any tax liable ones, and that a claim can go back as far as 25 years.

Providence is believed to have spent £0.5bn exploring Irish waters.

Campaigners like William Hederman, of, have warned that the oil from Barryroe may never be landed in Ireland, but instead taken for refinement to Europe or beyond, meaning fewer jobs on Irish soil.

And the Irish Green Party has also expressed reservations.

Environmental concerns

In July, its leader Eamon Ryan said he was wary of quoted figures over oil resources which had not yet been tested.

"Oil may be there but there is a limit on how much you can get out, and this is still only a tiny fraction of what would be used," he said.

"Like any drilling at sea, there are risks to it - the highest standards need to be applied."

The RSPB has also voiced concerns about any potential oil extraction around Rathlin Island, off County Antrim, a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protection Area (SPA), which it argues is too important for wildlife to allow that to happen.

It says the potential impact of oil drilling on Rathlin Island has not been fully explored.

Meanwhile, Providence says its intention is to take the oil from Barryroe to Cork, but that it is a decision that will be made on a commercial basis closer to the time of extraction.

Some 25% in revenue of what is potentially billions of pounds worth of oil will, however, be a huge boost to a country which has never successfully extracted a drop of oil in the past.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    Only the greedy fat cats will benefit from this!

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Yet again industries are spending money on finding more fossil fuels.

    "following decades of exploration" decades?!!! Imagine the money spent finding this spot, if that money was spend on making renewables more efficient, who knows what they could offer people instead of more CO2 in our atmosphere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    280 million barrels. The US uses a million barrels a day so equivalent to less than a year for the yanks then? When are we going to stop relying on fossil fuels?

    This is a relatively small find and they will become smaller and harder to extract. We need a gradual paradigm shift in energy conservation and production. I don't hear DC mention that just "rob the poor to keep the rich happy!!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    Oil isn't that great for a country, look at the UK, middle east countries, russia, norway and they tend to ignore other areas of the economy and rely on oil to pay for everything.

    Countries take the oil revenue for granted n take the backseat when it comes to manufacturing especially hi tech exports. just learn from our mistakes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    Let's hope Greece has the luck of the Irish.

    Most importantly, let's hope all countries with vast incomes from natural resources are wise enough to put most of that money into eductation, which not only ensures a future after the resources have dried up, but also combats discrimination in all its forms.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Lets hope we dont get invaded by the US over this

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    138. lordBanners
    I am hopeful of Independent Wealth for my Irish brethren, and sincerely Wish it will serve as a Unifying factor. Nothing like "Fair Sharing" to promote Peace & Tranquility.

    Independent wealth? Best clear that with the EU first. I understand Ireland owes creditors big time ;)

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    I am hopeful of Independent Wealth for my Irish brethren, and sincerely Wish it will serve as a Unifying factor. Nothing like "Fair Sharing" to promote Peace & Tranquility.

  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    Im feeling a bit of slant drilling from the north is in order...

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    Good for Ireland, more energy less dependence. More plastics, roads, toothpaste, ink, detergents and 1000s more products we can buy that a windmill can't produce. Oh and windmills and solar panels too, they come from oil and gas and coal. God bless irish oil!

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    Not the first time Ireland made money from barrels of the black stuff :) I doubt this will taste as good though. I just hope the Irish Government tax the hell out of the oil companies like Norway and UK does.

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    I am happy for Ireland but lets keep things in perspective.

    Global oil consumption is at 87 million barrels per day and rising. Ireland just found the world another 3 days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    And the insanity continues........ We are raping the planet of it's resources to feed consumption and an infinite growth paradigm that will destroy us all. Wake up you fools. Support the Zeitgeist Movement.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    There has also been a massive find off Co, Mayo totalling billions in oil and gas for the last 10 years, but Shell Oil have used under hand tactics and flouted lots of laws and locals rights in order to to get what they want. They are planning the worlds first on shore refining of sea gas and oil, which hasnt been tested and risk assessed. Read about it here,

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    Although I would be happier if Ireland had pioneered a new form of renewable; eco-friendly energy, I am still delighted for them.. It is just what their economy needs. Let's hope that the people benefit from it and not the greedy politicians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    China might lay claim saying its part of their territory!

  • Comment number 129.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.


    The Irish people didnt see 1 penny of the loan, there politicians agreed to take on the debts of the banks and needed the loan to pay back the debts of the likes of RBS.Its exactly the same in Greece the greeks are paying the debts of the german banks not benefitting themselves.

    i do hope the people of Ireland get something out of this, i however doubt it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    Hopefully this oil means Ireland can pay our taxpayer back the bail-out they received.
    Hopefully it also means we can put an end to the wide range of subsidies our government provides Ireland with as well.
    Providing this is the case I wish the Irish the very best of lucky with their oil, may it bring them a better future!

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    I do not think that the UK 'bailed' the Irish out at all. They are our friends and always have been. We lent them a tenner when their luck was down and I think that the treasury should rip up the IOU regardless of any oil news.

    The announcement by this Irish/UK venture is great news for Ireland and the UK. I just hope that the emerald isle does not turn black.


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