After Barryroe great gas and oil giveaway must end
In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD and Finance spokesperson for the United Left Alliance has said that, in the aftermath of the Providence Resources oil find off the coast of Cork, the government must now urgently and radically review the current policies for managing the state’s gas and oil resources.
Deputy Boyd Barrett also raised the issue in the Dail today calling for the government to urgently review current policies and legislation in this area. Deputy Boyd Barrett said that the current tax and licensing arrangements surrounding the development of gas and oil resources amounted to an effective give-away of a valuable natural resource that was rightly the property of the Irish people.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said also that with the likelihood of a significant increase of gas and oil exploration in Irish waters in the aftermath of the Barryroe find, and the current controversy over providence resources current application to drill on the foreshore of Dublin Bay within six kilometres of the coast, there was also an urgent need to review planning and public consultation issues related to gas and oil exploration.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The announcement that Providence Resources have made a significant oil find off the coast of Cork highlights the urgent need to radically review the tax and licensing policies around the development and exploitation of the countries gas and oil resources. Current polices mean that the state will receive almost no benefit from the exploitation of these oil resources – resource’s that are rightfully the property of the Irish people. The current licencing and tax arrangements are such that ownership of this valuable resource is now effectively handed over to a private company, who will pay one lowest rates of tax on their oil profits of almost any country in the world, and where the state will receive no royalties whatsoever on the oil that is produced. Generous tax right-offs on capital costs and previous losses mean that it may years before Providence would even have to pay the ridiculously low taxes that apply to oil and gas profits. Providence is also under no obligation whatsoever to supply the oil they produce to the Irish market.
The current arrangements amount to a scandalous give-away of our valuable natural resources. This give-away is even more outrageous in the current economic climate where if we had a proper regime in place to ensure maximum benefit to the state in the development of these resources, it could make a huge difference to the economic prospects of the country. The Petroleum Affairs Division of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources estimates that there may be as much as €90 billion worth of gas and oil resources off Irish coasts. In the aftermath of the Ballyroe find, exploration activity is certain to intensify in Irish waters, but the current polices are such that the Irish state and people would gain a negligible benefit from the development of these resources.
We need now to look urgently at the Norwegian model for developing oil and gas resources. In Norway, where the state retains ownership of the resources, and where because of the existence of a state oil and gas company, and state tax policy, the Norwegian people receive in the region of seventy per cent of the revenue generated by the exploitation of their oil and gas reserves. The likely surge in exploration drilling in the aftermath of the Ballyroe find, and the current application by Providence to drill for oil and gas on the foreshore in Dublin Bay, within six kilometres of the coast, also requires an urgent review of planning, environmental and public consultation policy in the area of developing oil and gas reserves. Again, we should be looking at the Norwegian model where there are very stringent environmental and public consultation policies surrounding the development of their gas and oil reserves. “