The Sovereign Independent have re-posted a blog post from Caroline Simons.
There was an interesting clash last week between columnists Fintan O’Toole (FOT) and Kevin Myers(KM) on our resources. FOT believes that we have significant oil and gas in our waters, and that the Irish people should get a fair return on them.There seems to be a story here, but the papers have taken a position, and I have been unable to get my response printed. Link to the articles and the only letter published in response follow -
Letter from Irish Offshore Operators Association in response
My letter sent to the Independent (similar sent to Irish Times – neither published) -
Re Kevin Myers column of 7 January ‘oil conjures up every lazy stereotype etc’. One wonders if Mr Myers’ lack of reporting of oil finds and the state of prospecting in Irish waters is an omission, or an example of his own laziness.
How about some facts? Serica plc struck oil off Achill in May 2009. It has since acquired licences to 2025 over additional acreage. Providence Resources has frontier licences in the Porcupine running to 2020. They reported in November that new data suggests their field at Spanish Point contains as much as 200 million barrels of oil and gas. Providence also has a licensing option to August 2011 over the Dalkey Island prospect. (Is the rig which has arrived in Dublin bay theirs?). Studies of the area suggest there will be gas and oil finds there also. It obtained a licence over Rathlin Island in October 2010.
Oil and gas companies have been given frontier licences to 2025. The remaining 250,000km2 of our seabed is up for grabs. In November Minister Conor Lenihan unveiled the Atlas Of Ireland’s deepwater seabed, a resource which should inform our future licensing.
Norwegians, through their State company Statoil, own more than a third of the Corrib gas field. Because of political incompetence we own none. The terms given to the oil companies have resulted in little drilling. Finds have been played down so that further acreage and ever more favourable terms have been given.
An independent Indecon report of 2007 assessed the value of our oil and gas offshore and our resources onshore at €430 billion. Mr Myers might note that in the six months to June 2010, 55 onshore prospecting mineral licences were granted. Many of these are for precious metals like gold, silver and platinum. Since August 2009, licences have been granted in 22 areas to prospect for rare earth elements. These are hugely valuable, and are used in everything hi-tech from mobile phones to space shuttles.
Could it be that the holders of all these licences know a thing or two? I believe we have vast natural resources. While I appreciate the need to incentivise the companies which risk their capital, it has never been more important that we examine the terms given to those companies, and their observation of them, and ensure an equitable return to the Irish people.
Is the platform reported in the IT today to be carrying out investigations for water treatment either of those licensed by the authorities to do so? According to the report the licensed platforms are named ‘Aran 250′ and ‘Excalibur’. The platform photographed in the Irish Times piece appears to have a different name.
I can’t help my curiosity – particularly given the vulnerability of our assets and revenues as collateral under the IMF and ECB/ EU Commission loans. (See my blog entry 3 December 2010)