"This is one of the most important stories of it's kind in Europe."
THE BOSS of the oil company planning to drill exploratory oil and gas wells in Dublin Bay says people should not be worried about its plans.
Tony O’Reilly jnr, chief executive of Providence Resources, believes the company has a one-in-four or one-in-five chance of making a commercial oil find off the Dublin coastline.
Providence’s plans to drill wells six kilometres off Dalkey have sparked considerable opposition, particularly in south Dublin. More than 700 submissions, most of them objecting, have been made to the Department of Environment, which will decide shortly whether to grant a foreshore licence application.
Speaking in New York, where he attended Ireland Day events at the stock exchange, Mr O’Reilly admitted that the company had received a lot of negative press but said people “shouldn’t be worried about Providence”.
“People felt there wasn’t a lot of explanation but we’ve now done all the open public consultation,” he said. While some people were opposed to the drilling plans, and were entitled to their views, others were in favour.
Mr O’Reilly said the company’s plans to explore for oil, subject to the necessary permissions, would not create permanent infrastructure or change amenities.
He said people became concerned because they hadn’t been aware that Providence was seeking a foreshore licence and it “happened quite quickly”.
Last week, Providence announced it had struck oil in commercial quantities in the Ballyroe field off Co Cork. Mr O’Reilly said it was also drilling off Co Clare, Co Kerry and off Northern Ireland.
Providence has its roots in Atlantic Resources plc, founded in 1981 by Sir Anthony O’Reilly.