Belfast Telegraph

Republic's oil and gas sector in line for a €500m boost

By Gavin McLoughlin

Around €500m (£437m) is set to be invested in Ireland's oil and gas sector over the next two years, according to a new survey by PwC.

The figure, based on responses from oil and gas companies operating in the Republic, comprises investments in exploration activities like drilling or shooting seismic imaging, according to Ronan MacNioclais, a partner in PwC's oil and gas practice.

It comes as oilfield services giant Schlumberger prepares to end its long presence in Northern Ireland.

"The stabilisation and improvement in oil and gas prices in recent times has had a positive impact on the Irish oil and gas industry," said Mr MacNioclais.

"Over half (of respondents) reported a high level of optimism in relation to the level of petroleum they believe has yet to be discovered in Ireland in spite of the lack of historic commercial discoveries here.

"Nearly two-thirds are positive about the future outlook for the Irish oil and gas sector. This is manifested by the fact that a number of drilling programmes are planned in Irish waters over the course of the next few years."

The survey also addressed the future of the sector in light of Ireland's efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

An opposition Bill designed to ban new exploration licences is currently before the Dail.

However, last week Sean Canney, the Republic's Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources, indicated the government will block the Bill, saying it "will do nothing to reduce our use of oil or gas".

Belfast Telegraph

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