THE MINISTER FOR Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte has confirmed that 13 new licences for oil and gas exploration off the Irish coast have been granted.
Rabbitte said that the Irish offshore has “real potential” and the country must continue to communicate the message to international exploration companies that it is “open for business”.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1′s Morning Ireland programme today, the minister denied that the licencing scheme was too generous, insisting that the country could not afford to fund the exploration itself. He said that the granting of the licences will encourage more employment.
Most of the exploration is to take place off the west coast.
However, Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins has condemned the decision, saying that a publicly-owned exploration company should be established, RTÉ reports.
The 12 companies that have been granted the 13 licences between them are: Antrim Energy; Bluestack Energy; Chrysaor; Europa Oil & Gas; First Oil Expro; Petrel Resources; Providence Resources Plc; Repsol Exploration; Two Seas Oil & Gas Ltd; Serica Energy; Sosina Exploration and San Leon Energy.