Ireland putting brakes on future offshore exploration

Sept. 24, 2019

Offshore staff

DUBLIN, Ireland – Irish leader (An Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar says his government intends to phase out the award of new offshore exploration licenses in the future.

He made his announcement yesterday at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

Irish independent Europa Oil & Gas commented that as far as it was aware, phasing out of oil exploration only relates to future oil licenses and not future gas licenses.

It also understands all of the options, licences, and leases already in place will be allowed to progress for their full duration. Europa has a large exploration position offshore western Ireland, which includes the potentially large Inishkea gas prospect close to the producing Corrib field in the Slyne basin off northwest Ireland

The company plans to seek clarification on the government’s position through the offices of the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association (IOOA), which responded to Varadkar’s announcement as follows:

“Our members remain committed to Ireland’s efforts to transition to renewable energy, however energy security for Ireland is an important part of that process and we will seek a meeting with government in relation to the matter in the coming weeks.”

London-based Serica Energy has decided to relinquish its three frontier exploration licenses 1/09, 4/13, 1/06 offshore western Ireland, after exploring in the country’s waters for more than 12 years.

It said Irish opportunities are likely to continue to be much longer term, and it prefers to reallocate the expense of maintaining the licenses to lower risk, nearer-term opportunities in its core areas elsewhere.

The company’s Slyne basin acreage is relatively close to infrastructure and offers lower development costs in the event of a discovery. But Serica’s attempts to bring in partners have been unsuccessful.