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 165.

    Anglophone is right. Drilling has been taking place around the Irish coast for thirty years and Tony O'Reilly has been In the Thick of it with one Irish company or another. Claims of 'discoveries' in the past have inflated the share price of the companies which have subsequently fallen dramatically because of 'confusion' about reservoir capacity,oil in place, recoverable oil and oil quality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    The ice caps are melting and will shortly disappear. We are now in unknown territory as a species on this planet.
    the ice caps have melted before, they have grown and covered up to half the planet, the earth has had this happen numerous times and survived, and it will continue to survive long after the human race has gone, save the planet!!! no what you all mean is save humans!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    Zhukov45 - I'm from England, and as far as I'm concerned the Irish are very welcome to the money we've lent them so far. I'd be happy for us to lend more if it was required.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    I just hope the Irish go the Norwegian way and not the UK way. All we've done in the UK is squandered a real opportunity to have a lasting legacy from the wealth generated by oil. The Norwegians meanwhile go from strength to strength with their forward looking sovereign fund.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    Some wondered why the UK was so quick to lend so much money ,now we know that knew about the oil.

  • Comment number 160.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    Just hope they learn from us
    Probably the only country to strike oil and go bust

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    While on this very day, the Greeks are in the street protesting against the country that has handed them billions of dollars because of their own incompetence, here we see a country actually solving its own economic problems with dignity and pride. Bravo Ireland.

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    time to pay your bills now Ireland!

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    i think we should declare war on them immediately,and take the oil fields by force if necessary......this will solve the unemployment problem, as we can conscript the army of dole scroungers who are laying in their beds all day, whilst good honest shift workers toil at their jobs, plus all those billions that will become available can be used to pay down the deficit

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    Anyone else thinking maybe it's time to rescind the Anglo-Irish Treaty and re-annex out lost lands to the west?

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    Let's hope England doesn't invade them again and give them a Union they don't want.

    ...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    Good, i'll be emailing president obama in the morning, advocating an invasion/occupation of ireland and the subjugation of any nearby oil reserves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    A lot of people seem to be making out that digging up oil is a really ecologically damaging thing to do. But it's not, relatively speaking. The use of oil, like in Petrol for cars of course has an impact. But the use of oil and gas for our every day lives is essential. It will run out for sure, but it's probably going to be needed to put in place the renewable sources that the green-clan crave.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    Anyone that thinks of having a commodity in demand will improve their living circumstances are fooled. There are many examples of nations with abundance of natural resources that are in a mess, e.g. Venezuela. To make the beneficial use of the natural resource is by having a governing a viable economy. For your information Google The World Monetary Order to Come.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    I pray the find, if it has to be used, is used wisely. The ice caps are melting and will shortly disappear. We are now in unknown territory as a species on this planet.
    What we so desperately need to do is confront our current unsustainable numbers. While we are still able, governments should be encouraging open discussion about overpopulation. August 22 was Earth Overshoot Day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    Call me cynical and I am but if it's anything to do with government by the time they have finished trumpeting all that they are going to do with the new found wealth it will be all over. That's when they tell you what they have actually done with the money (like propping up a bank) because you almost certainly won't have noticed any benefit in real terms.

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    This is excellent news for the Irish economy and it couldn't have come at a better time. Well done all :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    i hope every barrel of the black stuff has a shamrock style stout head on it

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    Sad But True: Whenever someone "wins the lottery" they think all their problems are solved. Common sense goes out the window and the windfall is frittered away, leaving them worse off than before. The Irish government, like many others will spend this money before it is realized and will be unable to cut back when the flow is reduced to a trickle. Simply pay off the national debt. Nothing more.


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