Minister Dempsey Awards Exploration Licences for Slyne Erris Donegal Area
Strict Embargo 7am Saturday 19th August 2006
Dublin, 19 August 2006
The Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey T.D. today announced that he has decided to offer exploration licences to the following successful applicants in the recent licensing round in the Slyne, Erris and Donegal basins:
1. Statoil Exploration (Ireland) Limited with Shell E. & P, Ireland Limited as a partner.
2. Serica Energy (UK) Ltd.
3. Island Oil & Gas plc with Lundin Exploration BV and Endeavour Energy (UK) Ltd. as partners.
4. Island Oil & Gas plc with Lundin Exploration BV as partner.
An application on behalf of Grianan Energy Limited was not successful as it did not meet the requirements in the notice accompanying the licensing round, which set out the details, specifications and conditions applying to the Round. In addition the application did not to meet the criteria at Section 3 of the Department’s “Licensing Terms for Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Development 1992”.
Commenting on the announcement Minister Dempsey said: The hydrocarbon potential of this area has been illustrated by the Corrib gas field, and this licensing round offers a new opportunity for exploration in an area that currently remains under-explored.”
The acreage on offer in the Licensing Round covers approximately 25,000 square kilometres.
“I am particularly pleased with the level of interest shown in this licensing round. Indigenous oil and gas resources are crucial to Ireland’s security of supply and energy mix and I hope that these licences will lead to the discovery and development of new hydrocarbon resources that will reduce Ireland’s dependence on imported energy,” said Minister Dempsey.
“Last year, I indicated that my policy will be to successively open areas with exploration potential, and I signalled to the industry to expect future licensing rounds. Since then, major technical studies commissioned by my Department have demonstrated the potential for hydrocarbon resources in a number of basins West of Ireland. This result is in line with discoveries along the Atlantic Margin in recent years and clearly justifies a substantial increase in exploration effort. I have now decided that the next licensing round should take place in the Porcupine Basin, a basin which has substantial hydrocarbon potential, especially for gas. I will announce the full details of this round in October,” continued the Minister.
“In June of this year I also committed to reviewing the existing licensing. This process has begun and I am now seeking tenders from external experts to provide advice and assistance to the Department in compiling the review. The review will take account of recent increases in energy prices and other factors, particularly the improved understanding of Ireland’s prospectivity. I expect the external experts to report to the Department by the end of September and any adjustments of the licensing terms will apply to the new Porcupine licensing round,” he concluded.
Note to Editors:
The application from Grianan Energy was not considered as a valid application on a number of grounds. Under the Department’s licensing terms the criteria for considering applications includes: (i) the work programme proposed by the applicant; and (ii) the technical competence and offshore experience of the applicant: No work programme was provided, nor was the necessary technical competence or offshore experience demonstrated. In addition the Grianan Energy application did not comply with a fundamental element of the specific terms for the round relating to the area of the licence application. The licensing round opened up an area comprising a total of 73 full and 31 part blocks to applicants. The terms specified that licence applications “should comprise areas that are equivalent to not less than one and not more than three complete blocks within the area”. Grianan Energy submitted one application for the entire area on offer i.e. 73 full and 31 part blocks. Accordingly, the application from Grianan Energy could not be considered a valid application.