Ireland has just had some good news. In fact, with the economic situation being what it is, it’s very good news. The type of good news which would have J.R. Ewing throwing up his Stetson in a fit of uncharacteristic joy.
After decades of hunting for oil off the coast of Ireland (and a half billion Pound outlay) there has finally been a significant development.
Irish and UK company Providence Resources Plc has confirmed that its Barryroe site (just off the coast of Cork) could yield nearly 300 million barrels of oil. Whilst the exact value of this find depends on licensing agreements and the market value following its extraction, it is thought that the Emerald Isle could be close to ‘oil billions’. Chief executive of Providence, Tony O’Reilly Jr, disclosed that the amount of oil at Barryroe was much greater than expected and consequently offered ‘a lot of value’.
Although Providence has already hired Exxon Mobil, one of the world’s top oil multi-nationals, to explore its Drumquin site, O’Reilly Jr dismissed claims that Ireland would not take a prominent role in recovering the coveted resource from Barryroe, stating: ‘We intend to utilise the structure of Ireland. We have been very clear in that regard. It makes good business sense for us. It is mad that we would take it elsewhere.’
However, he also commented: ‘The great news today is that Barryroe is on a path towards development […] What we are announcing is the beginning of that (oil) industry. We hope there is a renaissance of interest by international companies who need to come to Ireland and help us to exploit our natural resources. We cannot do it alone.’
Ireland takes a quarter of profits made on its natural resources, with the figure rising to two fifths if a large volume is extractors. For many campaigners this isn’t good enough and this latest development has resulted in calls for a re-evaluation of Ireland’s lax resource rules.
However, considering the dire economic situation Ireland has experienced over the past few years, a quarter of ‘billions’ is probably looking pretty attractive right now.
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