Written Answers. - Offshore Exploration.

Liz McManus

Question:

62 Ms McManus asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will make a statement on his Department's recent approval for the Seven Heads gas field submitted by a company (details supplied). [10836/03]

The Seven Heads gas field lies west of the Kinsale Head gas field in the north Celtic Sea basin. It is some 30 kilometres long by some eight kilometres wide, about 45 kilometres from the Cork coast and about 20 kilometres south west of the Kinsale Head Bravo platform at its nearest. It lies within water depths ranging from 97 metres to 104 metres. The Seven Heads gas field was declared commercial in July 2002 and a lease demising the petroleum to Ramco Seven Heads Limited and its co-venturers, Island Petroleum Development Limited, Northern Exploration and Sunningdale Oils (Ireland) Limited issued on 13 November 2002.

Under the terms of the lease, a plan of development accompanied by an environmental impact statement had to be submitted by the developers for the Minister's approval before any development could take place. The plan of development together with the environmental impact statement was submitted to me for my approval on 6 December 2002. On 12 March 2003 I approved the plan of development for the Seven Heads gas field under the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960 and I also gave consent to construct a pipeline for the development under the Gas Act 1976, as amended.

The field development plan is for a six well sub-sea development tied back by a 34 kilometres 18" pipeline to the Kinsale Alpha platform operated by Marathon International Petroleum Limited. Agreements are in place that permit Ramco to use Marathon's existing Kinsale offshore facilities and the export pipeline to the Inch terminal. Development costs are estimated at around €200 million. The field has a forecast production of around 300bcf. and an estimated economic life of 15 years to 2018. First gas is forecast for October 2003.