The founder and chief executive of Providence Resources, Tony O’Reilly, believes Cork could rival Aberdeen as a European hub for oil and gas exploration — if the county embraces the industry.
Providence’s Barryroe oil field could be pumping oil as early as 2018 and Cork will be on track to become an oil and gas hub, if people in the services industry make the investment of time and effort to install the full suite of service industries, he said.
Mr O’Reilly said people in the oil industry in Aberdeen are “very aware that Ireland is taking off and that Cork is going to be the place”.
He called for information sharing with the Scottish city. “I don’t know if you have ever been to Aberdeen, but Cork is a lot nicer and you have the tax rate here.”
Despite praising Ireland’s corporate tax rate, he took issue with a portrayal that Ireland’s oil and gas resources have been given away.
He argued that while the tax on extractive industries in Ireland was lower than in Norway and the UK, that is because they have proven industries in place.
Mr O’Reilly said that “Norway produces 2m barrels of oil every day hence they have a 78% tax rate; the UK a million-plus barrels a day; Ireland zero. Now hopefully we are going to change that, but you have to see it in that context.”
Referring to a report commissioned by Providence, Mr O’Reilly said: “The tax take from a field the size of Barryroe at the 40% tax that some people think is a giveaway, €4.5bn over its lifetime. That is just the corporation tax revenue. There is also the employment and all the associated benefits. That is equivalent to the whole corporate tax take in Ireland in 2011; that is just from one field.”
Mr O’Reilly said he is “evangelical” about promoting Ireland as the next frontier of oil and gas. He believes the stable political climate and government attitude will allow Ireland to emerge from the shadow of the North Sea.
“The activity like we are leading with Providence coupled with the proactive stance of the Government... coupled with the geopolitical climate in Ireland; you have got to understand that the majority of the oil in the world is in not nice places.
“This is a lovely place, I mean, we had guys working on the rig in Barryroe who could fly back into Cork and go play some golf at the Old Head. You can’t do that in Kurdistan”.
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