Written Answers. - Offshore Exploration.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

23 Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the latest information available to his Department on the likely extent of test drilling for oil and gas in 2001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17406/01]

As I mentioned in my replies to similar questions raised in the House on 8 February, 21 March and 8 May, there will be a substantial increase this year in offshore drilling activity with up to five exploration wells, one appraisal well and two development wells being drilled.

Enterprise Energy Ireland Limited recently drilled an exploration well in the Rockall Trough which has now been plugged and abandoned. Statoil commenced drilling an exploration well in the Porcupine Basin last month and drilling is ongoing. An application by EDC (Europe) Limited to drill an exploration well in the Fastnet Basin has been approved by my Department and drilling will commence within the next few days. Ramco Oil and Gas also propose to drill one or two exploration wells in the Celtic Sea. In addition Enterprise Energy Ireland Limited pro pose to drill a further appraisal well in the Corrib gas field and two development wells will be drilled by Marathon in the south-west Kinsale area.