Written Answers. - Exchequer Remittances.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

66 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources when he expects agreement to be reached with the purchasers of the Whitegate oil refinery and the Bantry storage terminal on the final amount to be remitted to the Exchequer; the amount remitted to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10839/03]

The agreement of the purchasers is not required to finalise the issue raised in this question. As I explained to the House on 4 March last in reply to Question No. 125, the Irish National Petroleum Corporation Limited will not be in a position to make a final payment to the Exchequer in respect of the transaction in question until a number of outstanding issues having potential financial implications for the company have been resolved. At this stage, these issues involve primarily a number of environmental claims which have been lodged with INPC by the purchaser and a contractual dispute between INPC and a third party.

I understand that it will not be possible for some time to say when all of the relevant matters will be finalised. However, the company now envisages that a further interim payment will be remitted to the Exchequer during the current year. I am advised that, taking into account the €20 million already paid to the Minister for Finance, INPC currently estimates that the overall remittance to the Exchequer is likely to be of the order of €35 million.