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Changes to oil and gas licensing terms are ‘cosmetic’ — Shell to Sea

Colm Gannon - Galway Advertiser

The announcement by Minister for Natural Resources Fergus O’Dowd this week of the details of the 2015 Atlantic Margin Oil and Gas Exploration licensing round were described as ‘cosmetic’ by Shell to Sea this week.

Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington said: "These changes are cosmetic, Ireland will continue to rely almost exclusively on a tax on profits as a means of extracting revenue from the oil and gas it has given to private companies. We have seen recently how creative accounting has resulted in corporations such as Apple paying almost no tax on profits in Ireland." She continued: “The changes are not retrospective, so the best areas of Ireland's territory for which licenses have already been given out will continue to be subject to the old terms."

Fellow Shell to Sea spokesperson, Terrance Conway said: “While the Government has been forced to respond to years of pressure from campaigners on this issue, the changes only give the illusion that the State will get a reasonable amount of revenue, while still only guaranteeing five per cent of the value of the resources."

Minister O’Dowd announced the details of the 2015 Atlantic Margin Oil and Gas Exploration licensing round on Wednesday. The round will close in September 2015. It will include all of Ireland’s major Atlantic basins: Porcupine, Goban Spur, Slyne, Erris, Donegal, and Rockall. The form of concession on offer will be a two year licensing option. The formal launch of the round follows conclusion of the Government’s review of Ireland’s fiscal terms for oil and gas undertaken by UK oil and gas experts Wood Mackenzie. Speaking at the Our Ocean Wealth conference on Wednesday in Dublin Castle the Minister stated: “The conclusion of the fiscal terms review allied with the announcement of the detail of 2015 Round provides industry with the certainty necessary to invest in exploration offshore Ireland.”

Terrance Conway said about the report: “As could be expected from a company so closely linked with the oil industry, the Wood Mackenzie report still recommends continuing to give the oil companies control over and the vast majority of the profits, from whatever oil and gas is found. The State will still take no share in production, and will have no control over what happens to our oil and gas, eg, whether it is landed in Ireland or supplied to the Irish market.”

Posted Date: 
22 June 2014