THE discovery this week of a potential major oil field off the Kerry coast could create massive employment.
That's only if the Government and our local TDs insist that the county has a central role to play in exploiting the multi-million euro discovery, however.
Fenit is the closest deep-water port to the oil site and exploration company Petrel Resources said the harbour 'certainly' has the capacity to become a major service hub for the oil industry in the future - getting supplies and workers out to the rigs. The potential value of this find is staggering. It could be worth anywhere up to €80 billion
Kerry County Council has already approached the company in an effort to secure Fenit's use as a service port.
If oil is found off our coast in such quantity, it is an opportunity the State, Kerry politicians and the local authority must do everything in their power to exploit on behalf of our people. THIS county must benefit from any major oil findings off our shores, politicians and business leaders here have warned.
Kerry interests have to start preparing now to exploit any major oil discoveries off our coast following the announcement of a potential massive oil field off our coast on Monday by oil exploration company Petrel Resources.
Kerry County Council has already made advances to the company for the use of Fenit port as a service base for any works into the future.
Founder and Chairman of Petrel Resources John Teeling told The Kerryman the port would have the capacity to act as a supply base.
"Fenit would certainly have the capability to supply all of this," he said.
The company bought licences from the State last year to explore two sites in the Porcupine Basin directly off the Kerry coast. Based on its findings, Petrel Resources believes it may have found oil deposits of up to one billion barrels.
However, it is vital that the State ensures it does all in its power to exploit the discoveries for Kerry and Ireland, many are warning.
It is vital county interests vie for the use of Fenit as the main service port, Sinn Féin Kerry North TD Martin Ferris said. "It is essential that Fenit would be the main service provider for any off-shore exploration on the Kerry coast," he told The Kerryman. Deputy Ferris said the port has the capacity and experienced personnel to handle service operations.
Robert Kelly of Fenit Harbour and Marina, who also worked on the oil rigs off the coast in the 1970s and early '80s, said it would be very important that the port start vying for business now.
Tralee Chamber Alliance CEO Kieran Ruttledge also called for the State to begin preparing for the exploitation of major oil finds. "Anything it can do to stimulate business and facilitate oil companies here must be undertaken."
Kerry County Council said it has already made advances to Petrel Resources for the use of Fenit. "We have been having preliminary discussions on this in relation to Fenit port being used to service any off-shore operations, but it is obviously very early in the process," Communications Officer Pádraig Corkery said.
"Fenit is ideal in terms of its proximity to the Porcupine Basin and we would have the ability to work closely with companies here and cater to their individual needs."