Ireland will keep exploringIreland's exploration acreage. Source: IPAS

Ireland will keep exploring

The Government of Ireland blocked the 2018 Climate Emergency Bill proposed by People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith, fueling future hydrocarbons exploration in Ireland.

The bill stated the ban of issuing further licenses for oil and gas exploration and production in Ireland, adding the country to the list of nations who’ve banned future oil and gas exploration, such as Costa Rica, Belize, France and New Zeeland.

Last week the bill was declined, with Ireland’s Offshore Operator’s Association (IOOA) embracing the Government’s decision, considering that an important step was taken to ensure energy security, protect the environment, and create jobs.

Continuing exploring for hydrocarbons will enable Ireland in finding more fields such as Kinsale and Corrib gas fields, that at the moment supply 60% of Ireland’s gas requirements.

Mandy Johnston, CEO of IOOA, reposts to the bill declaring that Brexit, the political instability in the Middle East and Russia, together with the lack of established gas interconnection with mainland Europe, leaves Ireland extremely vulnerable to massive major gas and energy disruptions. In terms of environmental protection, the imported gas/LNG from Russia and Qatar to Ireland creates an increase of up to 38% in greenhouse gas emissions than using Irish gas.

Politicians argue that the bill will not lead to a reduction of Ireland’s emissions and would force the country to import fossil fuels, “at a time when the Kinsale gas fields are due to cease production very shortly, and Corrib production is already in decline.” Ireland will then not hold any contingency gas reserves. This further highlights the need for an active exploration sector to provide indigenous supplies.

On the other end, Bríd Smith, the bill author, considers that ceasing exploration is the only solution for Ireland to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees.