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    Irish Gas Lobby Urges Gov to End Uncertainty


The government needs to put in place policies that ensure Ireland's long-term energy security, according to the IOOA.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Irish Gas Lobby Urges Gov to End Uncertainty

The Irish Offshore Operators’ Association (IOOA) has called on the government to end the regulatory uncertainty that has gripped Ireland’s oil and gas industry and restore confidence in the sector.

The government is due shortly to publish a policy paper on offshore exploration, the lobby group said in a statement on December 6. These policies need to guarantee long-term energy security, supporting Ireland's economy, the association said.

Investment confidence in Ireland’s upstream was shaken in September, when prime minister Leo Varadkar announced that no more licences would be issued for offshore oil production. Permitting for gas will continue, though it is unclear how this will work in practice.

“At the very least concrete and real steps must be offered to restore confidence to a sector which has been operationally paralysed for almost two-years,” IOOA CEO Mandy Johnston said. “Very often during this period evidence and facts have been side-lined in favour of high passion and emotion with little regard for any long-term implications. At times in the debate the only voices acknowledged appear to be those who shout the loudest.”

“This charged political atmosphere has created uncertainty about existing offshore exploration licences,” she continued. “There has been little regard for the negative impact this debate is having on existing exploration licenses, not helped by the ambiguity on how the government’s goal of separating oil and gas exploration for future licences can be achieved.”

Johnston warned that the government’s actions could result in increased imports of gas from countries such as Russia and Qatar, undermining energy security and, ironically, leading to more carbon emissions.