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    Ireland to Block Oil But Not Gas Permits: PM


Only a few months ago Varadkar's government blocked a bill banning the issue of drilling permits for oil and gas.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Ireland to Block Oil But Not Gas Permits: PM

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has said his government will no longer issue new licences for offshore oil exploration, but will continue issuing permits for gas, which it views as a “transition fuel.”

Varadkar made the comments in New York ahead of an address to the United Nations Climate Action Summit, Irish media reported on September 23. He said the government had taken a decision after receiving advice from its climate advisory council.

“Recognising that we end exploration for oil in Irish waters, we will continue to explore for natural gas given that it’s a transition fuel that we are going to need for the next few decades, as new technologies are developed and deployed,” Varadkar was quoted as saying by the Irish Times.

The PM said he would announce at the summit “that Ireland will also decline to issue any new exploration licences for oil in Irish waters (though new licences for gas will continue to be issued),” Virgin Media News reporter Gavan Reilly said on Twitter.

Ireland has been developing offshore gas for decades, with Corrib and several other large deposits covering 60% of domestic demand. The country’s only oil projects are at an early stage of appraisal.

Varadkar’s remarks come several months after his government blocked a bill that would have imposed a ban on the issue of new exploration permits for both oil and gas.