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 265.

    261 feedback loop -
    agreed - norway and the Uk differ in size and resources. The rest of europe didn't have an oil windfall. How we failed to make anything of it ought to be a shame to those in power 1980-2005.
    There was enough to sort the pensions crisis, for instance

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    If it's 280 million recoverable, that's about $25 billion in oil which Ireland won't have to import over the coming 10-15 years. And the chances are there will be other finds nearby. Once this is established as a hub then quite small fields will be profitable. Not a new North Sea, but a big deal potentially for Ireland. Just need to do it right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    I think if you talk to Orcadians and shelties, they want to stay part of england, or be independent. While scotland thinks about its oil, the islands don't feel part of scotland

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    This is a disaster for Ireland

    The U.S. & U.K. governments will portray the Irish as global terrorists and for everyones immediate safety they will pitch up and kill innocent women and children by the 10'000s for years and years

    If in your country you come across any oil, lithium or opium.. keep it to yourself, at least until the corrupt corporate military led politicians are out of office

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    260 mg Norway had a lot more oil and especially gas and a lot less people. This allowed for differrent options.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    Two options available here:
    1) save a lot of the money to provide reserves for later - the Norwegian Solution
    2) Pump it out as fast as possible and spend it, knowing that there are financial problems ahead - the UK solution.
    Mind you solution 2 did allow us to carry lots of unemployed and pretend we were prospering in the 1980's and 90's

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    Some good news for a change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    May their pockets be filled with gold, it might help not to tell Frau Merkel!

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    We will be an example to the world on how to balls up resource management, just like we've been an example in how to balls up an economy. Irish voters always vote for the shady politician who promise to spend the most for short term gain and tax the least.

    We should follow the Norwegian example. But I fear we won't. Our electorate is not mature enough. I take no pleasure in saying that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    "The luck of the Irish." It's about time they had some good old fashioned luck. Going green is the buzz word floating around, but that won't truly happen until it is forced upon humanity. The less the western world relies on Middle Eastern oil the better. As long as the extract the oil in a safe manner, and there are no spills we should all support the fact, because it is in a safe global zone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    Perhaps burning oil is marginally less harmful to the environment than burning peat. It would perhaps be better for Ireland in the long term if they invested any monies they receive as a consequence in renewables & do more to maintain the image of Ireland as being GREEN.
    It would be better if they controlled the exploitation of a valuable resource so that it does not run out in a few short years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    How wonderful for a nation that ha suffered such financial hardship to finally catch a break.

    This will prove to be a huge boost to Ireland's economy, and a well needed one at that!

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    Great stuff, I hope it works out for the Irish, they deserve it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    Oil rich countries have never served their people in a just and fair manner. A select few shareholders will enjoy this find but in real terms your average Irish man/woman will see no change. Our future ancestors will truely enoy what life can bring without the constraints of fossil fuel dependency.

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    Pity there isn't 280 billion barrels. Then we could stop relying on oil from the Middle East and they can go back to living in Biblical times.

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    Great news and great second chance for Ireland. Hope it doesnt impact on its natural beauty, really hope it does bring some prosperity back to the wonderful people who live there, they deserve it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    Grumpy socks are everywhere!
    Good luck to the Irish!
    Thats gonna be some party! :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    You can just see it! The EU prats in Brussels,. licking their lips! They will create some new rule to say if any EU/Eurozone member finds oil then they must contribute a certain % to Brussels! Lol! Unlucky Ireland!
    Yeah they're probably working out a new CO2 crude oil tax they can apply per barrel
    A Leprechaun tax

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Hope Ireland gets all the loot from their oil, just as Scotland should get all the revenue from their oil deposits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    To disgustedofdymchurch

    It must be awful to be you.


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