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 185.

    Markdoncaster and his ilk are obviously quite confused . Apparently the UK has been ruled by the Scots for the last 13 years ! Oh dear .

    He's also missed the fact that the taxes Scotland pays to London match comfortably the level of Westminster spending in Scotland, unlike the North of England

    If only the North East of England , Merseyside and certain London burghs could say the same

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    So when doe's the U.S/ NATO military invasion on Ireland begin?

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    That's good news for Ireland.

    The bad news for Scotland is that "its geographical share of North Sea oil" is less than most nationalists calculate. Take one map and follow the boundary between England and Scotland *in a straight line* to see where Scotland's claims end.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    The money will go to businessmen. Irish people will get sweet f.a. And there is not that much compared to world demand. It will end up probably like North Sea oil and squandered while we still suffer tax hikes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Luck of the irish?
    When have the irish ever been lucky? It´s hard to see.
    Went from a roaring economy to a country in dire straits, all the money from the boom years squandered. So if the black gold starts flowing i hope they will have learned from countries like Norway, Denmark etc.and save up for the future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    It’s a shame that the Gas found off the coast of Mayo did not generate more income for the Irish government and its people. Instead the people of Erris continue to fight a lost cause because Shell has basically bought the government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    The world uses about 1,000 barrels a second.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Hmm, didn't Ireland trouser billions in Objective 1 aid from the EU in the 1990s and 2000s, squander it all on tax cuts for business and find itself in massive debt the minute the free money supply dried up? More free money is not the answer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    @172. markdoncaster
    "the oil doesn't pay for everything scotland uses not to mention scotland would be bankrupt with out UK tax payers, any scottish oil would go straight to paying off their debt."

    Scotland would be the sixth richest country in the world if it controlled its geographical share of North Sea oil. Scotland has more natural resources (oil and gas) than Norway....

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    The SNP cranks have seen the word oil and are out in force. Someone needs to explain the benefits of a redistributive tax system and how before oil was discovered in the North see the evil Sasenach pulled them up from poverty to a position of respect and wealth. Get over yourselves your own nation doesn't want your idiot scheme stop trying to welch of the Irish they couldn't care less either.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    whysonegative 4 HOURS AGO This never ending quest for oil is turning up less and less results. Time to switch to renewables people! --------- We dont need "renewables people' we have enough people alredy. I sugest you look up replenishing oil reserves. I have a friend involved in this. The trouble is it dosent suite some "peoples" agendas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    No 35.

    Good old renewables, the gift that never gives. It doesnt work and never will!
    Just more expense and taxes foisted upon the millions by the government

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    Oil drink ta that said Mick

    The Irish have solved their own fuel problems. ... imported 50 million tonnes of sand from the Arabs and they're going to drill for their own oil.

    and before anyone accuses me of racism, i'm Irish myself!


  • rate this

    Comment number 172.


    You haven't had your oil stolen by westminster, scotland is british and part of the UK so should be given to whole of UK, second the oil doesn't pay for everything scotland uses not to mention scotland would be bankrupt with out UK tax payers, any scottish oil would go straight to paying off their debt.

    It's been scots in charge of UK for last 13years so no excuse, grow up.

  • Comment number 171.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Typical that a lot of naysayers seem to couch this in terms of the Irish getting one over on the British or the Irish having to pay off their debt to the UK. This could benefit Irish coffersbut also UK oil workers, insurance, consultants, engineers, lawyers etc.etc. Not to mention help our energy mix. We are their largest trading partner, more Irish money = more British goods and services bought.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    The way Alex Salmond draws the England/Scotland border, I think you may find this field may be in Scottish Waters :-)

    Seriously, good news. Ireland, take a leaf out of Norway's book and put the money in a sovereign wealth fund beyond the reach of gtubby politicians.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.


    You don't know much about UK history do you? I suggest you read about the Act of the Union and the Declaration of Arbroath.

    I'm Scottish, not Irish. We've already had our oil stolen by westminster, then they complain they are subsidizing us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    The article indicates the Oil find to be in the CORK area. Then it goes on to say there is a potential find in Drumquin.

    If both of these areas have the Black Gold then it appears the whole island may be a fountain of oil.

    Drumquin is in Northern Ireland whereas CORK is in the Republic of Ireland - a goodly few miles apart

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    I bet that in Whitehall they've been dragging out maps to see if, under some imprecise maritime territorial issue, Ireland's oil can be claimed for the benefit of 'Britain' as Scotland's has been.


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