The commitment in the Programme for Government to ending the issuing of new licences for the exploration and extraction of natural gas has been implemented by my Department and it will be given statutory effect by the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021. I, as Minister, do not intend to review or revisit this policy. Therefore, my Department has not undertaken, and does not intend to undertake, studies in relation to the merits of future natural gas exploration in Ireland in the context of achieving the Government's climate ambitions to 2030 and beyond.
My Department is currently carrying out a review of the security of energy supply of Ireland’s electricity and natural gas systems. The review is focusing on the period to 2030 in the context of ensuring a sustainable pathway to 2050. The review includes a technical analysis which will help inform a public consultation.
The technical analysis includes identification and examination of the key risks to the security of supply in the electricity and natural gas systems; identification of options that could address or mitigate these risks in the period to 2030; and appraisal of these options in the context of ensuring a sustainable pathway to 2050.
The review will take into account the expected levels of indigenous natural gas production under pre-existing applications, options and licences. However, in line with the Programme for Government, the options that could be taken to address or mitigate potential risks will not include further additional indigenous gas production.
It is planned that the technical analysis will be published and the public consultation undertaken in the second half of this year. The review, once completed, will be submitted to Government.