Energy Minister Eamon Ryan announced that, following a detailed evaluation by his Department of the applications received under the Porcupine Licensing Round, four Frontier Exploration Licenses have been awarded. The oil and gas exploration licenses cover areas totalling 4,963 square kilometers off Ireland's shores.
ExxonMobil, Providence Resources and Sosina Exploration were awarded two licenses. Island Oil and Gas and Supernova Ireland Resources BV were awarded a license, and Providence Resources, Sosina Exploration and Challenger Minerals were awarded a license.
In awarding the licenses, Minister Ryan said that he was encouraged by the keen level of interest of the companies involved, all of whom are currently engaged in existing exploration licenses.
"I hope the licenses awarded under the round will lead to the discovery and development of new hydrocarbon resources, which will reduce Ireland's long-term dependence on energy imports," said Minister Ryan. "Currently 90% of our energy comes from imported fossil fuels. We need to reduce this level of exposure.
The award of these licenses is indicative of the recent upswing in the level of investment in exploration of the Irish offshore, which is evidenced in the number of exploration authorizations and a corresponding increase in the level of drilling activity."
Minister Ryan confirmed that profits from these licenses are subject to the revised licensing terms he announced last year. Among these terms was a new profit resource rent tax, which provides for a tax take of up to 40% for more profitable discoveries (an increase of 15% from previous rates).
"I am pleased to say that Irish people will benefit from the development of our own indigenous resources," he concluded.
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