A proposed ban by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on issuing new licenses for oil explorers off the Irish coast is “illogical” and will kill off investments in both oil and gas exploration, Petrel Resources director David Horgan has said.
Mr Varadkar has pledged the Government will phase out issuing new exploration licenses for oil but continue to allow exploration for gas, as part of its response to meet climate change objectives.
The Government insists gas will be needed, and not oil, to generate power to back up renewable sources of energy when the wind, for instance, does not blow.
However, Mr Horgan said the move was “totally illogical” and would kill off the entire exploration industry in Ireland because, he said, exploring for oil and gas were inseparable. “It will also freeze gas exploration as well,” he said, adding the pledge would frighten off all investments in Irish waters.
Business group the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association, whose members include Exxon, Total, Vermilion Energy, Woodside, and Kinsale Energy, said it wants to hear from the Government about its plans to secure energy supplies.
Friends of the Earth, which has long campaigned for a ban, said Mr Varadkar should extend his pledge to also ban new gas exploration.