Cork must not repeat Corrib errors with oil find, urges chamber chief

The Cork region cannot allow the delays which have frustrated the development of the Corrib gas field hamper the potential of Ireland’s first commercial oil find at Barryroe, Cork Chamber president John Mullins declared yesterday.

Speaking at the chamber’s annual conference, Mr Mullins said: “We cannot allow what happened in Corrib happen in Cork. We need to harness the jobs content of any commercial find off the Cork coast.

“If there is a commercial find we need to be ready to take advantage of that,” he told 180 attendees at the Smarter Steps to Success conference.

He disclosed that Cork Chamber has already established an oil and gas exploration group made up of key players in the region, including representatives from the Port of Cork and the operators of Whitegate Oil refinery, Phillips 66.

Mr Mullins said the region needs to learn from the mistakes that were made in the development of the Corrib gas field to ensure the Cork region can benefit fully from the economic spin-off from any oil and gas find on the Cork coast, and that nationally the exchequer can benefit.

Mr Mullins said the oil and gas exploration group will look at all aspects of the development of any find including commercial and environmental.

In a wide-ranging address, Mr Mullins, chief executive of Bord Gáis, disclosed that at least three major dairy processors in the Munster and south Leinster region have commenced discussions about major expansions of their processing capabilities.

Mr Mullins disclosed that the main focus of the proposed expansions was to provide massive drying plants to make baby food ingredients for the Chinese market.

Later in the day, PCH chief executive Liam Casey, whose company employs close to 5,000 people in China, said Ireland needs to market baby food produced here under a single brand in China.

Mr Mullins said Cork City Council needs to decide which of the two proposed conference centres being proposed for Cork City it wants to go ahead. He pointed out that the Live at the Marquee series of gigs sell out in the summer and claimed this can be replicated over the course of a year at a permanent venue.

“We don’t have to take the train to Dublin to be entertained,” he said.

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