Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Dáil Eireann Debate
116. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of locations at which oil and gas exploration is taking place on or offshore; if there are any positive indications arising from such activity in the past 12 months; the number of new licences issued during this period; the number of licences issued in the previous four year period excluding the past 12 months; when it is expected that product will become available from any or all of the previous satisfactory commercially viable explorations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43656/08]
122. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount of revenue collected to date under the new tax rates announced in January 2008 in view of the announcement of the opening of the 2009 Rockall licensing round; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43642/08]
125. Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of exploration wells drilled off the coast to date in 2008; the locations of the drilling operations; the names of the exploration companies in question; the revenue which will be gained for the Exchequer from these explorations; the income derived from the increase in the tax rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43636/08]
Exploration for oil and gas, both onshore and offshore, is carried out under licence by my Department. Details of authorisations in place are published on my Department’s website. Most of the exploration activity is carried out offshore where there are currently 24 Exploration Licences in place, along with five Licensing Options and nine Prospecting Licences. Onshore, there are two exploration licences.
|Year||Exploration Licences||Licensing Options||Petroleum Prospecting Licences|
(including 1 Reserved Area Licence)
|Area||Operator||Authorisation||Rig Release Date|
|Rockall Basin||Shell E&P Ireland Ltd||EL2/94||28 July 2008|
|Erris Basin||Statoil Exploration Ireland Ltd||EL5/94||08 July 2008|
|North Celtic Sea Basin||Providence Resources Plc||EL2/07||01 September 2008|
|North Celtic Sea Basin||Providence Resources Plc||EL2/07||28 September 2008|
While exploration activities are continuing under all of these authorisations, no new discovery has been declared commercial in the past twelve months. The Corrib Gas Field is the only commercial discovery being developed at this time and the developers have stated that first gas is expected in late 2009.
In relation to a possible financial return to the State in terms of tax revenue from future commercial discoveries that might be made under existing exploration licences, it is not known at this stage whether or not any of the current exploration licences will result in commercially extractable finds of hydrocarbons. Where any future commercial discovery is brought to production, the tax regime that will apply, will be determined by the date of the exploration licence under which the discovery was made. In the case of exploration licences issued prior to 1 January 2007, a tax rate of 25% will apply and, in the case of licences issued from 1 January 2007, a tax rate of up to 40% will apply in the case of very profitable fields. To date, no new commercial discoveries have been made to which the revised tax regime would apply.
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