May 28th, 2019
The Department of Climate Action granted consent for an exploratory oil and gas well off the Kerry coast yesterday just as the election green wave hit Ireland.
The Department (DCCAE) received an application last November from CNOOC Petroleum Europe – a subsidiary of the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company – and ExxonMobil for permission to drill an exploratory well in the Porcupine Basin area.
The proposed well falls within a 1,300 km2 area where CNOOC and ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Ireland (Offshore South) Ltd already have a frontier exploration licence that runs until February 2033.
The DCCAE recently ran a press notice in the Irish Independent, revealing its intention to grant the exploratory licence to CNOOC and ExxonMobil in line with the country’s Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act of 1960.
In a letter sent yesterday to CNOOC Petroleum Europe ltd, the Department confirmed that the Minister of State with responsibility for Natural Resources Séan Canney TD has now granted consent for CNOOC to undertake drilling activities at the proposed site.
Mr Canney has also consented to the placing of a temporary well head and associated infrastructure on the seabed, with the decision open to legal challenge via judicial review proceedings for the following three months.
The letter states that the development of Ireland’s indigenous oil and gas resources has the potential to “deliver significant and sustained benefits” in securing an indigenous energy supply over imports, economic development and financial return.
People Before Profit’s Brid Smith has previously told The Green News that granting the license would be “a slap in the face to climate movement”.
“Despite the rhetoric, despite the PR and spin it shows this Government does not get climate change and doesn’t understand what is happening, this latest licence round is a slap in the face of both the movement in Ireland and the global movement on climate,” she said.
Yesterday, Ciaran Cuffe became the first Green Party member to be elected to the European Parliament in over 15 years.
“I think today and this weekend shows that young people want to see change, they have spoken to their parents and grandparents and I think the people have voted for an alternative to business as usual,” he said.