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Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com: Call to refuse exploration licences to multinationals

By: Claire Shoesmith, Irish Times
Published: Jul 13, 2006

A Donegal-based start-up, Grianan Energy, has called on the Government not to allocate exploration licences off the northwest coast to a large multinational company that will take its profits out of the country.

Speaking at an Oireachtas Committee meeting yesterday, Mark Turner, Grianan’s operations director, said it was disgraceful that Shell had been allowed to bid for the latest round of exploration licences while the dispute over the Corrib gas field was ongoing. Grianan, which was set up at the end of last year for the sole purpose of bidding for these licences, has pledged to reinvest 10 per cent of its profits in the Donegal region.

The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources has yet to make a decision on the new licences.

Also addressing the meeting, Fergus Cahill, head of the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association, emphasised the importance of Ireland producing its own energy sources as dwindling resources and security concerns around the world pushed prices up. He said the Government must continue promoting Ireland as a destination for exploration, adding that such projects could only be positive, considering the job and wealth creation they bring.

Mr Cahill said the fact that only four of the 150 wells drilled since the 1970s have been successful should not put off future developments. “While caution is necessary, undue pessimism is not,” he said, adding that today’s high oil and gas prices have made sites that were previously unworkable attractive.

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