Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Irish Sea in gas and oil exploration plans

Irish Sea from the Isle of Man Image copyright Dave Kneale
Image caption The Isle of Man government is hoping the discovery of hydrocarbons in Manx waters will eventually generate about £100m over 20 years

Plans to survey the Manx seabed for gas and oil reserves have been announced by the Isle of Man government.

Officials are to enter into talks with companies interested in conducting 3D seismic studies in the Irish Sea.

The data collected will indicate the extent of offshore hydrocarbons to be found in Manx territorial waters.

The Isle of Man government owns about 1,500 sq miles (4,000 sq km) of the seabed which stretches 12 miles into the Irish Sea from the Manx coastline.

A spokesman said: "This is in advance of a hydrocarbon licence round to allow oil and gas companies to prospect for hydrocarbon reserves believed to be contained in the seabed."

If either gas or oil reserves are discovered, the island would levy a royalty for the extraction- something the government hopes could generate about £100m over a 20-year period.

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