Ireland needs new oil and gas fields to ease reliance on Brexit UK, say drillers

(Climate Change News, 13 Feb 2019) Brexit puts new pressure on Ireland to find and develop its own oil and gas supplies and reduce its reliance on British imports, the country’s offshore hydrocarbons industry argues.

Ireland imports all of its oil and around a third of its natural gas – mostly from the UK – and the gas imports are set to rise as the country’s offshore Corrib reserve runs out over the next 12 years, according to the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association (IOOA).

Now, uncertainty around Britain’s future relationship with the EU is adding urgency to the industry’s calls for drilling and infrastructure projects that can bolster Ireland’s energy independence.

“Ireland’s geographical location at the edge of Europe makes us extremely vulnerable to any potential disruption to energy supplies,” Pat Shannon, the IOOA’s chairman, told Climate Home News. “Brexit increases energy security concerns, and post-Brexit, Ireland will not have a direct connection to the main EU energy infrastructure.”

The association published a report in January highlighting Ireland’s reliance on foreign oil and gas. It noted that even its biggest supplier, Britain, depends increasingly on imports from the European Union, Norway and Russia.

A disruption in these energy supplies would be costly for Ireland, the report warned. A year-long interruption of Russian gas to Europe would push up the country’s gas prices by 23% and electricity prices by 15%, while a total blackout would cost around €850m per day.

“Developing indigenous oil and gas would provide greater security of supply for Ireland in the context of global geopolitical uncertainty, including Brexit,” Shannon said.

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Climate Change News, 13 Feb 2019: Ireland needs new oil and gas fields to ease reliance on Brexit UK, say drillers