Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Questions (173)

Bernard Durkan


173. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the extent to which oil, gas or other mineral discoveries have been made in each of the past ten years to date; if any particularly promising discoveries or locations have been identified; the expected contribution of any such discoveries towards economic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35553/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

There have been four commercial natural gas discoveries since exploration began offshore Ireland in the early 1970s, namely the Kinsale, Ballycotton and Seven Heads (Kinsale area), producing gas fields off the coast of Cork and the Corrib gas field off the coast of Mayo. There have been no commercial discoveries of oil to date.

Despite the low level of commercial discoveries to date, working petroleum systems are known to exist in many of Ireland’s offshore basins, as demonstrated by a number of non-commercial discoveries as well as other oil and gas indicators such as hydrocarbon shows in wells. In relation to the Barryroe oil discovery, results of tests carried out on the Barryroe appraisal well are encouraging, however further appraisal work will be required to determine if the discovery could be declared commercial and lead to a petroleum production project.

With regard to non-petroleum minerals, while no new commercially viable deposits of minerals have been discovered in recent years, there have been some encouraging results, particularly in Counties Limerick and Clare. However, it is too early to determine whether these results will lead to identification of commercially viable deposits or to estimate the economic benefits that might accrue.