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Old March 25th, 2012, 03:01 PM   #101
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How much is the Barryroe oil find actually worth to us?

WITH THE ECONOMY returning to recession this week, having shrank in two consecutive quarters, and with the continued disruptions to a deal on the Anglo promissory notes, the news last week that Ireland had struck oil may have seemed like a golden ticket.

Certainly, the suggestion that the well at Barryroe, south of Cork, can pump oil at a rate of around 4,000 barrels a day is a good indication that the well has decent resources – particularly when the explorer, Providence Resources, says the well could have a total capacity of one billion barrels.

The price on Friday afternoon of a barrel of crude oil in US markets stood at $107 – meaning the well could, if the price held steady, have a total trade value of $107 billion – that’s about €81 billion.

But how much of that would the Irish government expect to receive? And would the advent of oil drilling off Irish waters provide any real economic stimulus?

Successive Irish governments have adopted a relatively hands-off policy in trying to reap material benefits from any oil or gas taken from Irish waters. Under laws first introduced in 1987 and changed most recently in 2007, Ireland doesn’t take any stake in an oil venture – nor does it require any explorers to guarantee any supply to Ireland.

So, even though oil and gas would be recovered from Irish waters, there is no implicit guarantee that it could be used to offer supplies for Ireland – even though, in some cases, the rigs drilling for oil could be visible from the Irish mainland. There is, also, no guarantee that the oil being harvested from Ireland could be sold back to Ireland at a discounted rate.

Sliding tax rate

Instead, the government’s sole revenue is through corporation tax – where the State takes a 25 per cent cut of the profits made from the extraction of natural resources within its territory.

This rate can get higher in line with the company’s profits: once the profit is 1.5 times larger than the money spent on extracting it, the tax rate gets higher – up to a ceiling of 40 per cent, once the ratio hits 4.5:1.

Even still, this rate is among the lower rates of any country in the world – other territories with a better track record in securing oil levy a higher tax rate. Norway’s tax, for example, is 75 per cent. The UK’s is just above 50 per cent.

In exchange for this tax rate, the Irish government effectively signs over the ownership of the oil or gas – content to allow a private company do the hard work of extracting the materials, and simply taking a larger cut of the profits when the process is complete.

The difficulty in trying to ascertain where Ireland’s sliding tax scale would kick in for Barryroe, or anywhere else, is simply that no exploration operations have yet begun since the current tax regime came in. Extraction of gas at Kinsale took place under the previous tax regime in the 1970s.

William Hederman, a journalist who maintains the Irish Oil and Gas blog, fears the open-ended nature of the tax laws – which allow companies to deduct their exploration and development costs from their tax bill.

“That can include costs going back 25 years before a field goes into production,” he says. “It could include other unsuccessful wells drilled. They can write off the costs of other wells drilled in Irish waters.”

The taxman cometh

Not only that, but the fact that most companies drilling in Ireland have larger operations abroad – and are more likely to bring those staff to Ireland instead of hiring locals – means it’s possible that companies could claim tax refunds for cash spent abroad.

“The Irish taxman, I would suggest, is going to find it very difficult to establish just exactly what costs are related to the project,” he offers.

He points out that estimates offered by Eamon Ryan in 2008, about the Corrib gas project, suggested a net tax take to the State of around €1.7 billion – just under 18 per cent of the €9.5 billion that the field was worth at that time.

He also says a study compiled by private consultants for Shell in 2003, which gave a more realistic account of precisely how much gas was available in those waters, suggesting the project would pay just over €340 million.

While the market price of such gas perhaps doubled between those two dates, Hederman believes the net tax take from Corrib would be only about 7 per cent – and fears a similarly low cut could be taken in Barryroe.

An offer they can’t refuse

Industry figures, however, believe the comparatively generous tax regime is necessary in order to bring explorers to Ireland. David Horgan has previously told this site that the sliding scale of tax was ‘an intelligent one’ in the eyes of explorers.

The Irish Offshore Operators’ Association, the representative body for the oil and gas industry, suggests that one of the ways Ireland can encourage more investment in exploration is to ‘learn from our mistakes’.

“In the case of a major discovery, with licensing and permitting across many administrative lines, a mechanism should be established to coordinate and optimise the inputs of the various State agencies,” it says on its website, adding:

It is worth remembering that such a mechanism was put into effect during the successful and uncontroversial development of the Kinsale Head Gas Field in the 1970s.

It paints a clear example as to why Ireland, they say, needs to keep a lower tax rate – pointing out that the UK, which has a stronger history of oil exploration than Ireland does, attracted 350 bids for exploration licences in a recent licencing round. 144 were awarded.

In Ireland, in a similar round in 2009, only two bids for exploration licences were received. Only one was awarded.

Under the radar

Pat Shannon, a professor of geology at UCD, believes the apparent viability of Barryroe could mean that the “rest of the oil industry will now look at Ireland and see, ‘Oil’.

“Ireland has gone under the radar to an extent,” he says. “Any success we’ve had has been in terms of gas; the oil industry will certainly look at Ireland anew now, and with renewed interest.

“There are some other discoveries made over the years – some of these may start to be looked at.”

Hederman, however, fears that the Irish plan of seeking investment does not necessarily consider whether that investment is of any use.

Exploration may be less useful than considered, because many Irish operations would allow oil to be pumped to a tanker and then brought to a refinery outside of Ireland.

“Oil is now easier to carry than gas – you can just stick it on a tanker and move it. There maybe doesn’t need to be any onshore infrastructure at all,” Shannon suggests.

A fluid asset

The professor adds that oil technology is now so advanced that an oil rig can simply be moved from one place to another – with its staff moving wherever it goes.

This is a concern of Hederman’s – because the mobility of oil means that not only may it be brought abroad and not used to satisfy Ireland’s domestic needs, but it might also result in a total lack of employment.

“In the case of, say, Dalkey, while the project is very close to the shore in environmental terms, in economic terms it might as well be off the coast of Brazil.”

If there was a similarly located gas field in the area, he adds, “industry sources have told me that if it was a bit further out, they could pipe it to Wales instead of the east coast of Ireland. Our terms don’t improve our security of supply.”

While few would disagree with the general need for Ireland to offer the right terms and conditions to make it attractive for explorers to come here, the government’s main concerns must be trying to balance this with the broader national interest.

“I can see the State needs to offer terms that encourage companies to come,” Hederman ponders. “To what end, though? The terms and the way our legislation is drawn up… is very pro-business – it doesn’t really examine down the road, what are the benefits? Why is this going to be better for Ireland?
Currently, he argues, private companies “get to keep it all, and do what they want with it.”

TheJournal.ie
A quick look at the comments below the article proves most people don't understand the Norwegian tax regime, or the fact that most of the profits derived from Statoil are not used for current government spending (but rather go into the Government Pension Fund). Their excellent health and education standards are funded from direct taxation, including high rates of income taxes, VAT and (shock/horror) property taxes. Yes, petroleum (of which they have plenty - much more than Ireland) is a massive driver of their economy, but it's not the sole reason for their high standard of living - taxes paid by the general population are.
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Old March 28th, 2012, 02:47 AM   #102
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Two detained after protest near Corrib gas project site

LORNA SIGGINS


Wed, Mar 28, 2012

Gardaí in north Mayo have arrested two people, following a “lock-on” protest near the Corrib gas project site yesterday.

A Garda spokesman said that a man and a woman “not from the area” were arrested for public order-related offences and brought to Belmullet Garda station.

They were both charged and released on bail and are due to appear at Belmullet District Court next month.

The Rossport Solidarity Camp Shell said that the “lock-on” action, where two campaigners against the Corrib gas project attached themselves to a device on the road at Aughoose, Co Mayo, aimed to “highlight the recent gas leak in the North Sea, which remains uncontained and has caused partial evacuation of rigs there, including those belonging to Shell”.

The camp continued in a statement: “It merely vindicates the long-standing concerns of locals around Sruwaddacon Bay that Shell’s plans are a risk to their safety and to the environment.”

It claimed that haulage traffic for the Corrib gas project was disrupted for almost six hours yesterday.

© 2012 The Irish Times
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Old April 2nd, 2012, 03:58 PM   #103
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Shell receives complaint about impact of gas project's haulage work

LORNA SIGGINS, Western Correspondent


Mon, Apr 02, 2012

SHELL EP Ireland has confirmed it has received a copy of a “detailed complaint” compiled by a group of north Mayo residents regarding the impact of the Corrib gas project’s construction and haulage work.

The group has submitted 104 letters of complaint to Mayo County Council, with 112 signatures.

Copies have been sent to Shell, the Garda, the Private Security Authority of Ireland, Ministers and politicians, and several environmental and human rights organisations.

The residents of some communities along the Sruwaddacon estuary, a special area of conservation, say they face a daily scenario of convoys of “heavy goods vehicles, vans with blacked-out windows, police vehicles and construction traffic” along a rural road.

They say they are under “constant surveillance” by gardaí and Shell private security, and claim that people’s private hedgerows fencing off their land have been “deliberately destroyed by council operatives/private contractors employed by Mayo County Council” to facilitate the gas project.

Trees which have grown for years in severe weather have been “carelessly slashed”, and landowners were “neither consulted nor kept informed”, the joint complaint states, adding that the destruction was carried out “covertly”.

“If local people broke the law in that way they would be prosecuted, so the perpetrators should also be identified and prosecuted by Mayo County Council,” the letters state.

Shell EP Ireland told The Irish Times it was observing “several hundred conditions” attached to planning permissions and permits for the Corrib project.

“In addition to observing these conditions, we strive at all times to carry out our work in a way that has the least impact on the local community,” it said, and was “involved in ongoing dialogue with the local community”.

“We are always available to listen to concerns and to discuss ways in which any impacts our work may be having can be reduced further where feasible.”

It said its community liaison staff were available, and its freephone number was responded to 24 hours a day.

Residents have said the traffic-management plan drawn up for the construction work does not make reference to the large security escorts attached to delivery convoys using the road along the estuary.

The Garda and Mayo County Council had no comment on the complaints.

© 2012 The Irish Times
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Old April 17th, 2012, 03:52 PM   #104
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Fracking should resume despite tremors - British experts
Updated: 13:42, Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A British government-appointed panel has said that a controversial gas extraction method known as fracking should resume under strict conditions, though it would probably trigger earthquakes.

British energy firm Cuadrilla Resources halted drilling trials on Lancashire's Fylde coast in northwest England after saying they likely caused a 2.3-magnitude tremor in April 2011 and a 1.5-magnitude tremor in May.

But a group of experts commissioned by the energy ministry said that the operations should be allowed to restart under tight controls.

The group added, however, that an instant shutdown should occur even in the event of a tremor that is too small to be noticed above ground.

"The authors of this report see no reason why Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. should not be allowed to proceed with their shale gas exploration activities and recommend cautious continuation of hydraulic fracture operations at the Preese Hall site," the report said.

There will now be a six-week consultation period with residents and environmental groups, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said.
"No decision has been taken on whether to allow fracking to resume at Cuadrilla's sites in Lancashire," a spokesman said.

Cuadrilla chief executive Mark Miller said he was "pleased that the experts have come to a clear conclusion that it is safe to allow us to resume hydraulic fracturing, following the procedures outlined in the review."

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is the drilling of underground shale rock formations by injecting chemicals and water to release trapped natural gas.

Opponents say it causes water pollution, but energy groups say it provides access to considerable gas reserves and drives down prices.

The experts' report agreed with Cuadrilla's assessment that the fracking was to blame for the tremors.

But it said coal mining in Britain had produced similar strength earthquakes and that any further seismic events in the area would be "unlikely to cause structural damage".

The report said the drilling process should be more cautious, with a smaller injection of water and better monitoring.

Any tremor of a magnitude of 0.5 or above should lead to an immediate halt followed by remedial action, it added.

Some countries have moved to ban certain types of fracking, although the industry contends the techniques have been in use for decades and are safe.

Story from RTÉ News:
http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0417/fracking-britain.html
Quote:
17 April 2012 Last updated at 05:25 GMT
Fracking for oil and gas 'safe' says report


By Mike McKimm
BBC NI environment correspondent

Fracking for oil and gas is a safe process, providing proper safety measures are taken, according to an independent report.

Fracking is seen as a controversial way of extracting gas or oil from the ground and could be used in Northern Ireland.

It is a process where rock deep underground is split or fractured by forcing liquid into it to release oil or gas. A report on Tuesday confirmed minor earthquakes near Blackpool were caused by a fracking operation.

Although the earthquakes are tiny and unlikely to cause any damage on the surface, the report does make some recommendations that could further mitigate the risk.

These include setting an earthquake level so low that it would be unlikely to be detected on the surface.

If a fracking process causes more powerful tremors then it must be stopped immediately.

Effectively, the report suggests fracking could go head but with much tighter controls and safety levels.

But the measures are unlike to be accepted by lobby groups who have been demanding a total ban on any fracking operations in Northern Ireland.

BBC News Northern Ireland
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Old April 18th, 2012, 01:55 PM   #105
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North not affected by UK fracking go-ahead

RONAN McGREEVY and MARK HENNESSY, London Editor


Wed, Apr 18, 2012

THE NORTH’S Minister for the Environment has said a British government-commissioned report that allows for fracking in certain circumstances does not mean it will go ahead in Co Fermanagh.

Alex Attwood reacted cautiously to the first official report by the British government into fracking, which concluded that the procedure caused earthquakes last year. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a procedure used to extract gas from underground.

The British scientists who reviewed scientific data collected after the small earthquakes in Lancashire in April and May last year said future earthquakes linked to fracking could not be ruled out, but they were unlikely to pose any danger. Earthquakes took place on April 1st and May 27th last year, registering 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale respectively. They were noticed by residents around the Preese Hall drilling site and elsewhere, but they did not cause damage.

“We agree with the conclusion that the observed seismicity was induced by the hydraulic fracture treatments at Preese Hall,” said the scientists, who reviewed data collected by scientists commissioned by exploration firm Caudrilla.

“However, we are not convinced by the projected low probability of other earthquakes during future treatments,” said the scientists, including Prof Peter Styles of Keele University.

“We believe it is not possible to state categorically that no further earthquakes will be experienced.”

A “traffic light” system should be put in place to monitor testing at the Lancashire site, if it resumes, so drilling would be suspended if a 0.5 Richter scale tremor was experienced, rather than the 1.7 Richter event proposed by the company’s commissioned scientists.

“This would be a prudent threshold value, to reduce the likelihood of events perceptible to local residents and to offer a higher margin of safety against any possibility of damage to property. This threshold value can be adjusted over time, if appropriate,” according to the report.

In response, Mr Attwood noted the possibility of earth tremors was only one aspect of concerns over the issue of fracking.

The North’s Department of the Environment has jurisdiction over fracking in Northern Ireland, so it could happen that the British government might allow fracking to go ahead in Britain, but it would not be allowed in the North.

Mr Attwood said: “I will consider this latest report, noting that its content is limited to the issue of earth tremors and does not address other issues and concerns around fracking. As Planning and Environment Minister, this approach will not be compromised.

“I continue to work with the Dublin Government on the issue, given that the Lough Allen basin is a shared cross-Border asset.”

The Irish Government declined to comment on the report.

Tamboran chief executive Richard Moorman said the report was “good news” for companies interested in fracking, but he too said it only covered one aspect of the process.

He said Tamboran, which wishes to use the controversial procedure in Leitrim and Fermanagh to extract gas, intended to use micro-seismic monitors recommended in the report, as they helped monitor the effectiveness of the cracking of rocks.

Leitrim anti-fracking campaigner Dr Aideen McLaughlin said the report showed the British government was essentially treating fracking as an experiment and lacked the know-how to monitor it properly.

© 2012 The Irish Times
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Old April 19th, 2012, 01:11 PM   #106
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I think a stay has been put on Fracking until the EPA complete a report into the technique. Aparently there is a major study being undertaken in the US which the Department of Energy here have one eye on.

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Old May 3rd, 2012, 02:44 AM   #107
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Coalition to seek scientific advice on 'fracking'

LORNA SIGGINS, Western Correspondent


Thu, May 03, 2012

THE GOVERNMENT is to seek further scientific advice on the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for natural gas from underground reserves before making any decision on exploration licensing.

Minister of State for Natural Resources Fergus O’Dowd confirmed in the Dáil yesterday that a second more comprehensive study on impacts is to be carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Mr O’Dowd also said that the findings of the US EPA study on fracking would be taken into account in any final decision on authorisations or otherwise for the controversial procedure, which involves using large volumes of water, sand and chemicals to extract shale gas reserves.

A preliminary US EPA report found that compounds that were likely to be associated with “fracking” chemicals had been detected in the groundwater beneath Pavillion, a small community in central Wyoming.

Three companies have been granted “preliminary authorisations” here to carry out testing in the Lough Allen and Clare basins, straddling 12 counties, and one of the companies, Tamboran, recently forecast that Leitrim has $55 billion worth of reserves.

Amid growing concerns about impacts on groundwater, Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte asked the EPA here to “conduct research and advise” on the environmental implications.

This study is due to be published within the next fortnight, Mr O’Dowd said yesterday.

Communities opposed to fracking have criticised the fact that the desk study had been commissioned from the University of Aberdeen, which has close links to the North Sea hydrocarbon industry. Responding to a parliamentary question tabled by Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming, Mr O’Dowd told the Dáil that the desk study involved “preliminary background research into the environmental aspects of shale gas extraction and into the regulatory approaches of other countries to assist the establishment of best environmental practice.

“The EPA proposes to commission further, more extensive research on hydraulic fracturing in 2012 and representatives from the Department [of Energy] and the EPA are developing the scope for that further study,” he said.

“The specification for this further more detailed research will be finalised after there has been an opportunity to consider the output from the University of Aberdeen study,” Mr O’Dowd said.

The Minister of State also said he did not believe that publishing a Green Paper on the issue would be of benefit.

“Instead I propose a way forward based on obtaining further and more detailed scientific advice, as is envisaged with the proposed second study to be commissioned by the EPA in the coming months.”

© 2012 The Irish Times
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Old May 4th, 2012, 01:49 PM   #108
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I don't mind them conducting an investigation into fracking as long as they are prepared to accept the result either way. I watched an RTE documentary a while ago were Professor of Minerology was given equal status to an unqualified "Community activist"!!

C
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Old May 9th, 2012, 02:36 AM   #109
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State 'should double' tax take on gas and oil finds

LORNA SIGGINS, Marine Correspondent


Wed, May 09, 2012

A JOINT Oireachtas committee has recommended that the State double its resource tax take for large oil and gas finds off the Irish coast, and initiate a “transparent” system of public consultation in exploiting new finds.

An all-party report, which is due to be published today by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture, says that there should be a review of offshore fiscal and licensing terms before each licensing round.

The report, which has been seen by The Irish Times, advises against “retrospective changes” to terms of existing agreements – such as those for the Corrib gas field and recent Providence Resources finds – as this could “risk long-term reputational damage”.

However, it points out that only 9.3 per cent of the geologically significant portion within the designated Continental Shelf is currently licensed for exploration or leased for production.

Any “large increase” in the number of commercially viable finds or the size of fields could therefore yield greater benefit to the State, if new tax terms are introduced by the Government, it argues.

The joint committee, chaired by Fine Gael TD Andrew Doyle, makes 11 recommendations to Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte, including the need for a “clear and transparent fiscal and licensing regime which provides certainty for the State and industry alike”.

This would require a review of the 1960 Petroleum and Other Minerals Act.

Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív said last night that while he could not comment on the report details in advance of publication, it was a “radical and well-founded” document which carried “huge weight” due to its “all-party agreement”.

The committee review was undertaken after Mr Ó Cuív and Sinn Fein secured an undertaking from Mr Rabbitte in the Dáil.

The last review conducted by former energy minister Eamon Ryan introduced a profit resource rent tax, in addition to the 25 per cent corporation tax which is currently levied – and which exploration and development costs can be offset against.

The 2007 licensing terms increased the State take from 25 per cent to 40 per cent for the most profitable fields.

However, the committee believes 40 per cent should be the overall “minimum” tax take for future licences.

It says that the profit resource rent tax should increase on a sliding scale from 40 per cent for small to 60 per cent for medium to 80 per cent for very large commercial discoveries; terms should be reviewed before each new licensing round; and the State should explore ways of controlling production volumes as part of resource management.

Prohibition of flaring gas, where surplus gas is burned off from a well to relieve pressure, should be considered; and the Minister should draw up a strategic policy document for petroleum exploration which could dovetail into other policy documents such as the marine policy review.

© 2012 The Irish Times
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Old May 9th, 2012, 11:41 PM   #110
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The report from the Oireachtas' Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture on Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration is available here. I've only had a quick glance at it but the bits I have read make for very interesting reading!

Here's a summary from TheJournal.ie:

Quote:
Report calls for ‘clear and transparent’ policies on Irish gas and oil

A JOINT OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE has compiled a report recommending the introduction of clear and transparent legislation concerning offshore petroleum exploration in Ireland, and changes to the current tax regime concerning oil finds.

The committee says that while existing agreements and licenses should be adhered to “irrespective of changing circumstances”, future agreements should reflect changes in police and circumstances, such as the discovery of a number of commercially-viable oil finds:

"Any future changes to the fiscal terms should be clarified before subsequent licensing rounds to ensure certainty around the regime for the investing companies."

The report also recommends changing the taxation system concerning the discovery of petroleum fields.

“The State should seek to maximise tax revenues from petroleum exploration and production without deterring petroleum investment,” the committee report says.

“In this context, the Joint Committee believes that the overall tax take should, in the case of future licenses, be increased to a minimum of 40 per cent. The PRRT should increase from existing levels according to a sliding scale based on the rate of profit (ie to give an overall tax take of 40 per cent for small commercial discoveries, 60 per cent for medium commercial discoveries and 80% for very large commercial discoveries).”

The Oireachtas committee also calls on the Minister for Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte to establish a forum with key stakeholders “to improve communications between stakeholders and maximise the potential for Ireland’s hydrocarbon resources for the benefit of all Irish people”.

Then, in consultation with this forum, the government should develop a policy to ensure employment opportunities arising from these resources are maximised within Ireland.

Here are the report’s other main findings:
  • There should be a clear and comprehensive process of public consultation at the first substantive stage in offshore oil and gas exploration, such as when the plan of development is being drawn up
  • Consideration should be given to the prohibition of flaring of gas
  • Fiscal and licencing terms should be kept under constant review by the state
  • The state should consider applying the principle of ‘unitisation’ to future explorations activities; the benefits of having at least two participants in a license area should be fully explored and considered
  • There should be a statutory commitment that qualifying local communities affected by offshore oil and gas exploration shall be compensated financially through infrastructural and social development
  • The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources draw up a strategic policy document for petroleum exploration
  • The minister should also consider engaging with other countries, such as Norway and Portugal, with a view to establishing a forum to exchange ideas on best practice on various aspects of petroleum exploration and production
  • The government should consider methods of controlling production volumes under resource management, such as the Norwegian method of employing permits to ensure a flat production rate so that as much as possible is produced from a field
A copy of the report is being sent to Minister Pat Rabbitte for his consideration. Speaking in the Dáil recently, Rabbitte said he would participate in a debate on the report’s findings – if the whips facilitate it.

Committee chairman Andrew Doyle TD said the group’s focus was on how to best develop Ireland’s offshore resources while taking affected communities into consideration:



(Video uploaded by oireachtasfilm)
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Old May 10th, 2012, 10:51 AM   #111
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Offshore operators criticise oil and gas tax proposals

TIM O'BRIEN and LORNA SIGGINS


Thu, May 10, 2012

THE IRISH Offshore Operators’ Association has expressed concern at an Oireachtas committee’s recommendation that large oil or gas finds could be taxed at 80 per cent of profits.

Such a rate would be comparable to or higher than Norway, which has “an established industry, a high rate of commercial discoveries and which refunds 78 per cent of the cost of unsuccessful exploration”, the association said in a statement yesterday.

The report from the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture said tax on future offshore oil and gas profits should be set at a minimum of 40 per cent, rising to a maximum of 80 per cent. The proposals also include reform of the planning and public consultation process to address “reputational damage” done to Ireland through the Corrib gas dispute.

Committee chairman Andrew Doyle said the “key concern” was to maximise State revenue while incentivising offshore oil and gas exploration.

Much of the report’s proposals were modelled on the Norwegian experience, meaning a small find would attract the lowest rate of overall tax – 25 per cent corporation tax and a 15 per cent profit tax.

However, should a very large find be made then the tax could rise to 80 per cent overall, meaning Ireland would not lose out on the resource. Medium-sized finds would be taxed at an overall rate of 60 per cent.

The report cautions against retrospective changes to existing licences because of fears of creating uncertainty among oil explorers. It also recommends that taxation and other regulations be reviewed after every round of licence offerings. It said the State should also consider controlling production volumes as part of its resource management.

In relation to public consultation, the report said there should be “a clear and comprehensive process” beginning “at the first substantive stage”, which is when a plan of development is drawn up.

Mr Doyle said it was hoped these changes would show oil and gas exploration companies they should have “no hesitancy about coming here”.

The proposals were welcomed by Siptu spokesman Pádraig Campbell who said they had the potential to “rebalance” changes made by former minister Ray Burke in 1987.

The offshore operators’ association said the proposals could “discourage companies who are currently considering Ireland as a location for exploration”.

© 2012 The Irish Times
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Old May 10th, 2012, 06:19 PM   #112
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I think we should rase the taxes. Get the most money that we can out of it.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 02:23 AM   #113
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A balance has to be struck so as to not make it unattractive for those companies to invest though.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 12:50 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by odlum833 View Post
A balance has to be struck so as to not make it unattractive for those companies to invest though.
I think 55-60% is balanced and fair enough.
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Old May 12th, 2012, 10:52 AM   #115
Catmalojin
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I think 55-60% is balanced and fair enough.
Not if the chances of finding oil and/or gas in the first place are slim. Wait until substantial amounts of deposits are found (if that's ever going to happen) and then increase the taxes for future finds, like Norway did.

Quote:
No 'fracking' until further study, says Rabbitte

LORNA SIGGINS, Western Correspondent


Sat, May 12, 2012

MINISTER FOR Energy Pat Rabbitte has reiterated that no hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for gas would take place in Ireland pending further “detailed scientific analysis and advice”.

Mr Rabbitte was commenting on yesterday’s publication by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of a scoping report commissioned from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

The initial EPA report would provide a “useful basis” for the terms of reference for a further study that he is commissioning this year with the EPA, Mr Rabbitte’s spokesman said last night.

The study published yesterday warns that knowledge of local geology may be “more important” in Europe than in the US in assessing impacts of the controversial procedure. This is because shale formations in Europe are “generally more complex” than in the US, where many fracking projects have been undertaken, it says.

Risks to water associated with the onland extraction of gas are an “important concern”, notes author Dave Healy, of the universitys geology department.

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” involves pumping a water-rich fluid into a borehole until the fluid pressure at depth causes the rock to fracture.

The pumped fluid contains chemical additives, and small particles known as proppant (often quartz-rich sand) which serve to prop open the fractures.

The EPA study was requested by Mr Rabbitte late last year because of environmental concerns over the practice. Three companies have been given “preliminary authorisations” to investigate shale gas extraction in areas extending across 12 counties.

Dr Healy notes that the debate over fracking in the US was polarised, with very few peer-reviewed scientific reports into the activity.

“The current opinion shared by several agencies is that all scientifically documented cases of ground water contamination associated with fracking are related to poor well casings and their cements, or from leakages of fluid at the surface, rather than from the fracking process itself,” he says.

An additional risk is that of the natural gas released into ground water, he says, but adds that there has only been one confirmed case of this kind.

Fracking’s geo-mechanical risks were highlighted in recent earthquakes attributed to the activity near Blackpool in Britain, he says.

Dr Healy refers to the carbon footprint implications of the procedure. While the US has the most experience in this area, he say, EU legislation which the US does not have – such as the EU water framework directive – will place significant constraints on shale gas extraction activities in Europe.

He recommends that national or local environmental agencies charged with monitoring the potential impacts should be fully funded and equipped to carry out the necessary tasks, and should have the means to detect and monitor presence and movement of chemicals licensed for use.

Baseline monitoring studies of ground water are needed before any drilling activity begins, he says, and “open, simple and rapid communication of all regulations, incidents and best practice would help to combat misinformation from vested interests”.

Northwest residents’ group Talamh has urged the EPA to focus on the impacts on human health in its next study.

Talamh also urges the EPA to include research conducted and regulations adopted in countries which have already imposed a ban on fracking.

© 2012 The Irish Times
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Old May 12th, 2012, 01:16 PM   #116
JD47
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Originally Posted by Catmalojin View Post
Not if the chances of finding oil and/or gas in the first place are slim. Wait until substantial amounts of deposits are found (if that's ever going to happen) and then increase the taxes for future finds, like Norway did.
Yes thats what I am saying. If we find a fair amount then up the taxes for the next bunch of oil companies that want to come in because we will know that it is there by then and it will just be a case of trying to find it.
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Old May 14th, 2012, 08:09 PM   #117
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Remember guys....this is just an Oireachtas Committee.....their reports usually gather dust. Just last year a Committee investigating Alcohol reccommended that Supermarkets be banned from selling Alcoholic beverages!!! Of course, it was no coincidence that several of the members were publicans!

The one way this report could be helpful, is that the Government can present this to the oil companies as a worse case senario. They may then accept a lower rate....which is alot higher the the current rate!

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Old June 6th, 2012, 11:41 AM   #118
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Great news!

Quote:
Providence test shows Barryroe oil better quality
Updated: 07:42, Wednesday, 6 June 2012


Providence Resources updates on Barryroe discovery

Providence Resources says tests from its Barryroe discovery off the coast of Ireland show that the oil there is of better quality than previously thought.

In a statement, the exploration group said that the tests show the Barryroe oil to be a premium light, low sulphur, low acidity and low metal crude.

It said that the wax content has been analysed to be 17% and the nitrogen content is also low.

The company said that a comprehensive programme of post-drill studies is continuing in order to better define the Barryroe oil with regard to recoverable reserves and future field economics.

The Barryroe oil discovery is 50km off the south coast of Ireland in the North Celtic Sea and lies in about 100m of water.

''The results of the Barryroe oil assay vindicate our proposition that high value crudes exist in the shallow waters off the south coast of Ireland. Our well testing results has demonstrated that these crudes can be produced at commercially attractive rates,'' commented Providence's chief executive Tony O'Reilly.

Story from RTÉ News:
http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0606/pro...r-quality.html
Official press release from Providence Resources.
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Old June 8th, 2012, 12:17 AM   #119
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That is very good news. Lets hope they find a major find.
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Old June 9th, 2012, 03:35 PM   #120
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Quote:
Strict safety measures for oil and gas exploration

LORNA SIGGINS


Sat, Jun 09, 2012

Potential hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and refining of gas drawn from the Kinsale and Corrib gas fields will be monitored by the State’s energy regulator before the end of next year.

Fines of up to €3 million or imprisonment for up to three years may be imposed for breaches, according to the Commission for Energy Regulation in a document published yesterday.

It promises “extensive” monitoring and enforcement of the new safety system, which will apply to both onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction, including shale gas “fracking”, if licensed here.

The controversial “fracking” technique is currently the subject of a second study by the Environmental Protection Agency, which will inform the approach to be taken by Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte.

Penalties for breaches of the commission’s new safety system will include an immediate suspension of activities on foot of an emergency direction order or a court application.

Production could be halted altogether if developers lose their safety permit.

© 2012 The Irish Times
...
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