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Written Answers - Offshore Exploration

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 375.  Deputy Tony McLoughlin Information on Tony McLoughlin Zoom on Tony McLoughlin  asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  if he will distinguish between an asset or royalties and exploration licences; if the Irish Government owns all the asset and royalties to all Irish lands in relation to gas oil and minerals. [16999/12]

[857]Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Information on Pat Rabbitte Zoom on Pat Rabbitte The ownership of all State and non-State petroleum was vested in the Minister for Industry and Commerce and his successors on the enactment of the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960. In the event of a commercial extraction project involving petroleum that was not State petroleum prior to the enactment of the 1960 Act, the Act provides that compensation is payable by the Minister.

Petroleum exploration in Ireland, in common with most other jurisdictions, is carried out under licence. Exploration authorisations are issued by my Department under the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960 and the operational framework is set out in the Licensing Terms for Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, Development and Production 2007. In relation to non-petroleum minerals, it is estimated that about 60% of minerals in the State are State owned, such ownership mainly arising through dealings under the Land Acts. Regardless of ownership, the exclusive right to work minerals in the State is vested in the Minister under the Minerals Development Act 1979, subject to a right to compensation to the mineral owners. An exception to this statutory vesting was allowed for mines in operation at the time.

Minerals exploration and extraction is undertaken by private enterprise. Exploration is conducted under prospecting licences granted under the Minerals Development Act 1940. Mineral extraction requires a State Mining Facility — either a lease under the Minerals Development Act 1940 (State minerals) or a licence under the Minerals Development Act 1979 (private minerals). In either case, financial terms (including royalties) for State Mining Facilities are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the legislation.


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