As per my post here the Government in the Republic Of Ireland has failed to regulate the Options Licences correctly. It is now compounding that lack of regulation by consideration of the licence applications by both Tamboran and Enegi
Indeed recent FOI requests show that there is no basis for the Ministers assertion that Petroleum Prospecting Licences were not required, and there is no documented evidence of the decision to not grant these licences and crucially, no notifications were sent to the three companies involved that PPLs were not required.
The only Departmental advice on the subject seems to re-affirm that PPLs were required. While Richard Moorman’s email of April 2012 suggests even at this stage the Department was going to grant Tamboran with a PPL. Its also clear from company correspondence that the companies were aware of the significance of the need for a PPL.
So where does this leave the Government with regard to its position on unconventional gas – ie that unconventional gas will be regulated tightly.
I don’t believe that Shale Gas is environmentally, nor economically suitable for Ireland or Northern Ireland, or for anywhere else for that matter, nor do I believe it can be regulated, but with regards the matter in hand the following as a minimum should happen
1. a Public investigation into why these 3 companies were not granted Petroleum Prospecting Licences
2. Tamboran and Enegi’s applications for Exploration Licences should be discounted as they are in breach of the terms of their options licences
3. Re-affirmation of the suspension of onshore petroleum licensing in the Republic of Ireland until after the EPA report has been finalised and consulted on.
4. Changes to legislation with regards to 1960 Minerals act and 2007 terms and conditions need to be made as it would appear they are not fit for purpose. Again both of these should be investigated in the light of EPA reports.
5. An SEA on unconventional onshore oil and gas needs to be run by the Department indicating the true extent of potential onshore unconventional oil and gas resources.
Only Once these processes have completed, can the Government re-issue tenders for exploration licences and/or options licences. Given neither Tamboran or Enegi followed the rules they should be barred from entering this process.