Written Answers. - Natural Gas Reserves.

Roger T. Garland


115 Mr. Garland asked the Minister for Energy whether he has any plans to introduce measures to conserve Ireland's reserves of natural gas.

It is a fact of life that gas reserves are developed only when long term take-or-pay contracts are available to the producers. Such an arrangement exists between Bord Gáis Éireann and the Marathon Company for the exploitation of the gas in the Kinsale Head and Ballycotton fields. A feature of such contracts is an agreed profile of offtakes for each year in the contract period, and if the gas is not used it must be paid for anyway.

It has always been Government policy that the gas should be used to the maximum benefit of the economy. Accordingly, Bord Gáis Éireann operate prudent allocation and pricing policies to that end. However, the question of extending the period over which the gas would be produced does not arise.