With regard to applications for petroleum authorisations, the Irish Offshore is divided into 'Open Areas' and 'Closed Areas'. In Open Areas, such as the Celtic and Irish Seas, applications for licensing options or exploration licences may be made at any time. In Closed Areas such as the Atlantic Margin, applications for licensing options or exploration licences may only be made during a Licensing Round. The Irish Onshore is also closed for applications. Lease undertakings and petroleum leases represent follow-on authorisations to an exploration licence.
In respect of applications for a new petroleum authorisation, two applications for licensing options in the Celtic Sea are currently under consideration.
In respect of applications for a follow-on authorisation to an existing authorisation, twelve applications to convert existing licensing options awarded under the 2015 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round to frontier exploration licenses are under consideration. In addition, three applications to convert an existing exploration licence to a lease undertaking are also under consideration. There are no applications on hand for a petroleum lease.
Details of all petroleum authorisations granted are published on my Department's website www.dccae.gov.ie on a quarterly basis. In addition, I am required to lay before the Oireachtas under the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act, 1960 half yearly reports detailing all petroleum exploration authorisations granted during the period of the report. The last such report under this Act was in respect of the six-month period ending 31 December 2017.