Dáil Éireann - Volume 538 - 14 June, 2001

Written Answers. - Offshore Energy Reserves.

39. Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the call made by SIPTU for an independent assessment of oil and gas reserves; his response to the proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17409/01]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): I had not been aware of this proposal, and it has not been communicated to me or to my Department.

Ireland has two proven reserves of gas. These are the Kinsale Head and Ballycotton gas field including south-west Kinsale, and the Corrib gas field which has been declared commercial and which is still being appraised. While exploration is progressing under 13 exploration licences, six licensing options and nine petroleum prospecting licences, these have not yet shown any reserves of oil or gas on a commercial scale.

The data from the two proven reserves above are made available to the specialist staff in my Department at the same time as it becomes available to the operator of the licence. The data and information are analysed and interpreted by these experts who can provide me with an assessment. No case has been made to me for an independent assessment of these reserves, and I am fully satisfied with the service provided by these experts. Therefore, I would not see that such an independent assessment is warranted or necessary.