Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (37, 38)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

37. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the expiration date of all existing licences and leases issued by his Department for oil and fossil gas exploration and drilling, in tabular form; the details of applications for renewals and progressions of same under consideration by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8156/21]

View answer

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

38. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the terms and conditions that must be met by applicants in order to extend or renew existing exploration and drilling licences, and leases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8157/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 37 and 38 together.

Section 57 of the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960 requires that I lay before the Houses of the Oireachtas every six months a report detailing all exploration activities, including petroleum exploration authorisations granted during the period of the report. The last such report laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas was in respect of the six-month period ending 31 December 2020. In addition, a report on the status of all petroleum authorisations is published on a quarterly basis on gov.ie (https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/10d43-acreage-reports-and-concession-maps/). The most recent such report was published in respect of the three month period ending 31 December 2020. This report contains the information requested by the Deputy in relation to the categories and expected expiration date of existing oil and gas licences and leases.

In relation to the number of applications for extensions and progressions, the following are under consideration by my Department:

Extensions

3

Application for Licensing Option

1

Application for conversion from Licensing Option to Exploration Licence

2

Application for conversion from Exploration Licence to Lease Undertaking

2

Applications for extensions received by my Department are assessed against a number of criteria in accordance with the Licensing Terms. This includes the work programme proposed by the applicant, the technical competence of the applicant and the financial resources available to it. The Licensing Terms also set out that the receipt of an application creates no obligation on my part to grant any authorisation.