The release of the odourless gas has resulted in two inquiries — by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The financial cost to Shell Ireland, Statoil and Vermilion Energy can be assessed from figures released by Vermilion which show revenues fell 23% from the second quarter.
Elsewhere, British explorer Europa Oil and Gas has said there remains “considerable interest” in its Irish assets among potential investors. Europa, which earlier this year landed Scottish explorer Cairn Energy as a development partner for part of its Irish acreage, is sitting on an estimated 4.7 million barrels of oil equivalent and 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas offshore Ireland.
The company reported revenues of £1.6m (€1.8m) for the year to the end of July which was 23% up on the previous year. Pre-tax losses narrowed from £1.9m to £700,000.
“We remain focused on securing farm-outs for the remainder of our Irish licences with partners with whom we can advance our assets towards drilling,” chief executive Hugh MacKay said, adding that while progress has been slower than the company hoped, things are “moving”.
“Substantial progress has been made, but we need to be patient.
“Big companies will become more confident if oil prices stabilise between $50 and $60 per barrel,” he said.