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Gas, Gender, and Ideology: Reflections on a Prime Time Debate

Amanda Slevin - Irish Left Review

As I sat in the audience of a Prime Time feature on Irish gas and oil (RTÉ, March 11, 2014), I wondered what I was doing there. I’m probably not the first person to ponder their attendance on such an occasion but it was a unique thought for me as I’ve been interested in the topic of Irish gas and oil for over 8 years.

Posted Date: 
16 March 2014

Rabbitte asks oil industry whether licensing terms are too generous to oil industry

William Hederman -

Minister dictates what consultants’ findings should be: that things are fine the way they are

Wood Mackenzie logoLast week Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte named the company chosen to carry out a “fitness-for-purpose” review of Ireland’s infamous licensing terms for oil and gas exploration. Unfortunately, the company he has tasked with carrying out this review is Wood Mackenzie, a company at the heart of the very industry that stands to gain from Ireland’s “attractive” licensing regime remaining as it is. Wood Mackenzie is an oil industry consultancy firm: what Mr Rabbitte is asking it to do is recommend whether or not he should reduce the share of revenue that some of its clients will receive from the sale of Irish oil and gas.

Wood Mackenzie’s parent company Hellman & Friedman also jointly owns an LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) engineering company with oil major Total (see note below).

Interestingly, one piece of consultancy work carried out by Woodmac (as it is familiarly known in the industry) was a private study for Shell E&P Ireland in 2003 into Shell’s Corrib Gas project. That study projected that Shell and its partners could expect to pay just €340 million in tax to the Irish exchequer on their earnings from Corrib. That extraordinary revelation is dealt with in this article I wrote in 2011:
Ireland’s share of revenue from Irish gas fields could be as low as 7%, report shows

In fairness to Mr Rabbitte, he probably didn’t choose Woodmac himself. The choice will have been made by his officials in the Petroleum Affairs Division of the Dept of Energy and Natural Resources, who have consistently been sympathetic to the oil industry.

Posted Date: 
14 March 2014

News Release - Inappropriate energy advisors selected on oil and gas terms

News Release - Issued by Mayo Shell to Sea - March 11th, 2014

-- Department select consultants with close oil company links to advise on Irelands Oil and Gas terms --
Shell to Sea today criticised the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources for selecting Wood Mackenzie as their advisers on the “fitness-for-purpose” of Ireland’s current oil and gas fiscal terms. Shell to Sea also criticized the tendering process and the pro-oil industry press statements that have come from the Department in regard to this selection of advisers. [1]
This review was forced on the Department after the Joint Oireachtas Committee report on Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration in May 2012, which recommended, among other things, a review of offshore fiscal and licensing terms before each licensing round. [2]

Wake up, Ireland: multinationals are set to give us very little for our own oil

Eddie Hobbs - Sunday Independent

A new book highlights the State's reckless policy on Ireland's natural resources, writes Eddie Hobbs

'GODDAMMIT we're being misinformed, misled and exploited – all over again.' Words to that effect summed up my own moment of epiphany in the autumn of 2012. The thought that Ireland, whose undersea territory extends nearly half way across the North Atlantic, nearly eight times our land territory, was set up to be exploited for its economic rent – the excess value over and above normal profits – seemed impossible to swallow. We are, after all, a first world country, part of the EU and not some third world dictatorship.

I'd assumed that the occasional grumbling about our offshore oil and gas potential was generated by a dolly mixture of extremists, lefties and planet-before-people types who grasped little about economics, business and risk-taking. It was uninformed. It was wrong. It was arrogant. It was also part of the learned helplessness in the ether here when it comes to matters of the people versus the State. Challenged to read deeply into the subject, I now see industry and government PR for what it is; a legacy of betrayal, callowness and servitude where the owners of the endowment are indoctrinated, by their trustee, with the idea that they're getting a great favour afforded to them – that anyone arriving into Dublin on a corporate jet prepared to sink money into holes offshore should be rewarded with the most generous giveaway pricing model in the world.

Posted Date: 
3 March 2014

Gardaí, GSOC, ‘whistleblower reprisal’, Corrib Gas and the ‘rape tape’


Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe’s first contact with a TD came about because he saw Clare Daly TD on ‘Tonight with Vincent Browne’ talking about policing of Corrib Gas protests, writes William Hederman

The repercussions for Garda whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson will be familiar to others who have publicly embarrassed An Garda Síochána. They were clearly acting in the public interest, but their revelations brought the force into disrepute, and the two men suffered as a result. Revenge was exacted – not only by colleagues, but also by way of public denunciation by the Garda Commissioner (“disgusting”), the Minister for Justice (“not co-operating”) and by various other parties loyal to the force.

Posted Date: 
3 March 2014
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