U-turn on natural gas exploration


A chara, – The Government produced a cogent policy statement on oil and gas exploration in December 2020, as part of Ireland’s transition to sustainable alternatives. The document was updated this year on May 30th.

Throughout the comprehensive document, it is stated clearly that natural gas, because it is relatively clean compared to oil, was to be the transition fuel of choice to take us through to 2050. The current Government target is to reach 70 per cent sustainable alternatives by 2030.

The document highlights the future danger in terms of national energy security of our dependence on imported supplies of natural gas in the meantime, given that the Corrib field will cease production before 2030.

It states that without further indigenous gas supplies, we will then be dependent for decades on imported gas from such distant countries as Russia, with all the potential difficulties that could ensue from pumping gas across several volatile countries and huge distances.

The then-taoiseach Leo Varadkar stated at the UN Climate Change Convention last year that Ireland would cease issuing oil exploration licences, but indicating that we would continue issuing natural gas licences.

Last week, however, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan did a U-turn and, despite the formal stated policy of a year ago, decided to stop issuing natural gas licences from “his department”.

Mr Ryan’s yo-yo decision is both irresponsible and dangerous as he disregards the hard facts and the science, and he is prepared to sacrifice the future energy security of our country on the altar of some poorly thought-out ideology, which is based on his foolish obsession to lead the world on climate change.

God help us all! – Is mise,