Rabbitte grants 13 licences for offshore drilling
MINISTER for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte has announced 13 new licences for gas and oil exploration off the Irish coast.
The licences have been granted following an assessment of 15 applications submitted in May. They are mostly for the area known as Atlantic margin, in the Rockall, Slyne and Porcupine basins
Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland this morning, Mr Rabbitte said most of the winning bids were from international companies but denied this was because the terms on offer from the government were much more beneficial than those offered by other countries.
He said the tax regime here is broadly the same as other European countries with the exception of Norway.
"At 80 million a pop we don't have that kind of investment to drill holes off the Irish coast... so we have to bring in the companies. And we have to bring them in on a tax regime that doesn't frighten them away."
Details of the winning companies will be announced by the minister at a conference later this morning.
It is expected that exploration could start immediately.