Skip to main content

Press release: Irish Oil and Gas Resources could SAVE us YET!

Press alert: Issued by Dublin Shell to Sea
Wednesday, 31st March 2010

Irish Oil and Gas Resources could SAVE us YET!

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said “At every hand’s turn our worst fears have been surpassed” as he put forward the first raft of NAMA loans that are to be shouldered by the Irish taxpayer.  It now appears that the Irish state could end up putting over €22.3 billion to save one bank alone.

Caoimhe Kerins from Dublin Shell to Sea said

We are consistently told that there is no other way than to borrow this money to save the banks.  Minister Eamon Ryan has been trotted out to sell this line from the Government.  This is particularly disingenuous coming from him as he knows how bad the existing deal is that has been done with Shell for our natural resources and knows that there is an alternative.  We have been consistently calling for the deal to be re-negotiated with Shell and what is unpalatable is seeing precious little money flow into the exchequer thanks to the way they can write off all exploration costs. 

There are over €420 Billion in oil and gas resources off the west coast of Ireland and that has to be taken into account as an alternative to running to the European Central Bank with a begging bowl.”

* Caoimhe Kerins


Shell to Sea is a national campaign with active groups based across Ireland. The Shell to Sea campaign has three main aims. 1) To renegotiate the terms of the Great Oil and Gas Giveaway, which sees Ireland’s 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent* off the West Coast go directly to the oil companies, with the Irish State retaining a 0% share, no energy security of supply and only 25% tax on profits against which all costs can be deducted. 2) To have the Corrib gas field exploited in a safe way that will not expose the local community in Erris to unnecessary health and safety risks. 3) To seek justice for the human rights abuses suffered by Shell to Sea campaigners due to their opposition to Shell’s proposed inland refinery.  

*This figure is based on the estimate, issued by the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) in 2006, that the amount of gas and oil in the Rockall and Porcupine basins, off Ireland’s west coast, is 10 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent). Based on the average price of a barrel of oil for 2009 of $60, this works out at $600 billion, or €420 billion. This does not take account of further oil and gas reserves off Ireland’s south coast or inland. The total volume of oil and gas which rightfully belongs to Ireland could be significantly higher. Also, as the global price of oil rises in the coming years, the value of these Irish natural resources will rise further.