Dáil Éireann - Volume 509 - 20 October, 1999

Written Answers. - Offshore Exploration.

85. Mr. Bell asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the conditions attaching to the licence granted by his Department in relation to a company (details supplied) operating a drilling rig; the number of workers engaged on this operation and their nationalities; the number of workers at every level who have been granted visas; the length of time of each visa; the number who have been granted work permits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17311/99]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Dr. Woods): The licence to which the Deputy refers was granted on 1 January 1993 for a period of 11 years. It is deepwater exploration licence No. 2/93 covering four blocks in the Slyne Trough. It is held by Enterprise Oil, as operator, and its partners Saga Petroleum Ireland Limited, Statoil Exploration (Ireland) Limited and Marathon International Petroleum Hibernia Limited. It was issued under the licensing terms for offshore oil and gas exploration and development 1992. It is a condition of the licence that the licensees carry out an agreed work programme including the drilling of at least one exploration well.

The licensees have just completed their second exploration well in the licensed area and the drilling rig Sedco 711 has left the location. The number of workers engaged during the drilling operation was a matter for the operator. In regard to the nationalities of those employed on the drilling rig and the number of visas granted, I understand that such information has been sought by the Deputy by way of separate parliamentary questions from my colleagues, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment respectively.