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State will not benefit enough from oil, gas finds

Re Matt Cooper’s article (Sept 4) on oil and gas in Ireland disregarded the facts: there is no State ownership or State participation in oil and gas resources in Ireland — the commodity can and will be sold by the licence holders to whomever they wish and at market price.

There is no legal facility to ringfence oil and gas for the Irish market. All development and exploration costs can be set off against tax liabilities for a long time to come.

Even the three Corrib partners have no knowledge of the sales agreements of each party, as each partner has to sell separately. Therefore, there can’t be any prediction by Matt Cooper or anybody else of how much of Corrib gas will be sold in Ireland.

Equally Mr Cooper would do well to ascertain how much tax oil companies pay on average. I think the figure centres around 5%. What should Ireland have done with oil and gas resources? What did Norway do when told in the early 1970s that ‘Norway will never be an oil and gas nation’? They prepared for the day when that prediction turned out to be wrong. By establishing Statoil the Norwegians had a way to cooperate with the industry in partnership at a time when Norway was too poor to finance exploration.

Statoil owns 37% of Corrib and will make a far higher financial gain from it than Ireland ever will, after footing the bill for the exploration and development costs.

Monica Muller

Rossport

Co Mayo


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