On 9 May 2012 the former Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture published its Report on Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration. The Report contained a number of recommendations in respect of the fiscal and regulatory framework applying to oil and gas exploration in Ireland. At my request the Report was debated in Seanad Éireann on 27 June 2012 and in Dáil Éireann on 14 May 2013, with the debate concluding on 9 July 2013. During the course of the Dáil debate I stated my intention to seek further independent expert advice on the "fitness-for-purpose" of Ireland's fiscal terms, such expert advice to focus on what level of fiscal gain is achievable for the State and its citizens and, equally important, on the mechanisms best suited to produce such a gain.
On 24 September 2013 my Department issued a request for tenders on the public procurement website etenders.gov.ie for the provision of expert advice on Ireland's oil and gas exploration development and production fiscal terms. The deadline for receipt of tenders was 15 October 2013. My officials are currently evaluating the tenders received.