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Shell to Sea claims 'devastating mismanagement' of oil and gas resources

The group has released a report saying exploration companies believe oil and gas within Irish waters is worth €1.6 trillion.

Shell to Sea activists clash with Gardai after they blocked the path of Shell machinery in Co Mayo in July. The group says Ireland's oil and gas reserves are worth €1.6 trillion.
Shell to Sea activists clash with Gardai after they blocked the path of Shell machinery in Co Mayo in July. The group says Ireland's oil and gas reserves are worth €1.6 trillion.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

THE SHELL TO SEA group has released a report in which it claims that exploration companies believe the oil and gas reserves off Irish waters are worth over €1.6 trillion.

The group says its “groundbreaking” Liquid Assets report – which can be downloaded from its website – is the first time that the explorers’ own valuations of the sites they are licensed to explore have been collated – resulting in a figure which it says exposes the government’s failure to manage the nation’s natural resources.

“By trawling through figures published by oil exploration companies, researchers compiled companies’ estimates for a total of 69 different discoveries, ‘prospects’ and other areas licensed for oil and gas exploration,” the group said.

“The combined total of those company estimates is 20,964 million barrels of oil equivalent (of oil or gas), worth €1,600 billion at today’s prices.”

Socialist MEP Paul Murphy, who launched the report, said the general public was “increasingly aware that Ireland’s ‘take’ from its oil and gas is far lower than in other countries”.

“The Government and oil industry have defended this by insisting that ‘attractive’ terms will lead to investment, jobs and our own supply of oil,” he said – an image that was somewhat undermined by the report’s showing that extraction of Irish resources may not benefit Ireland at all in terms of employment or supply.

“The Government and oil industry defend Ireland’s giveaway licensing terms by claiming that Ireland is an ‘unproven territory’, where exploration is minimal,” added Dublin Shell to Sea spokesman Criostóir MacCuirc.

“This painstaking new research tells a different story.”

Current Irish law levies a tax of 25 per cent on profits made from the sale of Irish resources, but allows exploration costs to be written off against this – meaning the true extent of a possible Irish tax take remains unknown.

An image from the Shell to Sea report mapping the various oil and gas reserves identified off Irish waters. Source: Shell to Sea.

Read: More oil off Cork coast, says Providence

In depth: How much is the Barryroe oil find actually worth to us?

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Gavan Reilly

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