The big drill: Oil and gas sector could create 1,500 jobs a year and net billions in tax for State
The Irish offshore oil and gas sector could create as many as 1,500 jobs a year.
This is according to a report from consulting firm PwC, commissioned by the Irish Offshore Operators' Association (IOOA).
A single oil find could create up to 1,200 jobs annually and provide revenue of up to €8.5bn in corporation tax.
Meanwhile, a single gas find could create up to 380 jobs a year, providing revenue of €2.4bn in corporation tax over the production periods.
The report claims the development of indigenous oil and gas resources in Ireland would deliver some carbon emissions benefits as well as security of supply.
Gas in electricity generation is 67pc less carbon-intensive than peat and 61pc less intensive than coal. Oil is also 33pc less carbon-intensive than peat and 20pc less than coal.
As Brexit looms, Ireland's energy security remains vulnerable, with 100pc of all of our oil, and 31pc of all our gas imported, primarily through the UK. In turn, the UK is dependent on increasing imported energy from the EU, Norway and Russia.
The potential cost of a total blackout in Ireland for a day is estimated at €850m, according to the report.
"More than a third of Europe's gas comes from Russia, so there is clearly a vulnerability beyond Europe," said IOOA chairman Professor Pat Shannon.
"It will secure our supply, generate significant amounts of revenue and create high-value jobs, particularly in the south and west."
Oil and gas exploration is by its nature a capital-intensive industry, and many Irish companies operating in the sector rely on international partners for investment.
With regards to the desire from companies to invest in the sector here, Mr Shannon said money is "going into the ground" in 2019.
"Chinese group Nexen Cnooc are drilling, that money is going into the ground this summer, likewise Providence Resources and their partners, the money is going into the ground," said Mr Shannon.
"Those are concrete examples of the appetite among companies to invest in the industry, and behind them quite a number of companies are lining up as a result of the last licensing round held at the end of 2015," he added.
"This round was very significant in that it brought in a number of particularly very big players, some of whom had been here before and had left, and others whom are new entrants."
Hugh Mackay, CEO of Europa Oil, added that as an alternative to importing oil, producing oil here delivers an element of energy security.
"With one decent discovery, Ireland could be self-sufficient in oil and that gives you security and also creates investment.
"One medium-size oil find in the Irish Atlantic, that's $16bn worth of investment and 1,200 jobs," Mr Mackay said.