By Geoff Percival
One of the main international exploration companies active in Irish waters has said it remains “excited” and confident about realising its asset potential here despite last week’s Dáil vote in favour of a ban on drilling for oil off the Irish coast.
London-based Europa Oil and Gas is sitting on around five billion barrels of oil and 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas off the west coast, having invested around €20m on developing its Irish acreage over the past seven years.
Chief executive Hugh Mackay said stopping oil exploration will have “no impact” on oil consumption levels.
He was speaking almost a week after Fianna Fáil, Labour, and Sinn Féin supported People Before Profit’s Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Amendment) Climate Emergency Measures Bill, getting it over the line in a Dáil vote and pushing it through to committee stage.
The bill targets a ban on drilling for fossil fuels in a bid to lower Ireland’s carbon emissions
“It’s a very disappointing development and one that’s not going to make the lives of those looking to attract farm-in partners or commit further funds to exploration efforts easier in the short term,” said Mr Mackay.
Defending Europa’s Irish assets, for which development partners are being sought, Mr Mackay said: “As long as Ireland is consuming gas it might be helpful to have its own source of domestic supply.”
While he said he is “not particularly worried at the moment” and has not encountered any negative reaction from potential farm-in partners arising from last week’s vote, Mr Mackay said any political uncertainty raises warning flags in the industry.
Last week, the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association called the Dáil vote “disappointing” and a potential threat to Ireland’s energy supply security.