Skip to main content

Whose oil and gas? My oil and gas

By: 
My Oil and Gas group

The group behind the My Oil and Gas video which went viral last week explain why they were moved to make the film, and why they're urging people to sign up to their campaign of action to reclaim royalties from natural gas extraction for the State.

Last week, a whopping 22,000 people viewed our video about Ireland’s natural resources on YouTube. We made the video in Norway to contrast and highlight the absurd deal that the government is making on our oil and gas. We also created a website in parallel and have offered people the opportunity to take action and stand together by submitting their emails to the website myoilandgas.org.

The Irish people are saturated with depressing economic news. It’s about time that we started talking about the potentially massive wealth the country holds in the form of oil and gas. While aspects of this issue are painfully complex, there is thankfully one fundamental aspect which can be clearly understood by all and should be paramount in formulating any national energy strategy: Irish resources belong to Irish people and must be used for their benefit. This is not merely an opinion, it is a cornerstone of our society and laid down in our constitution (Article 10). Unfortunately this principle is not being remotely adhered to in the current terms for oil and gas extraction. By the time the oil companies are through deducting their expenses as far back as 25 years, the Irish people are likely to yield little or no benefit from their natural property. And that’s not to mention that if the lights do go out during the looming energy crisis we will be helpless to stop the likes of Shell exporting our energy in the pipes below our feet while we sit in darkness.

This is a very serious juncture in Irish history, the outcome of which will affect all of our lives more than anything else on the current political agenda. Retaining majority ownership of our potentially massive oil and gas reserves is our one and only shot at addressing our economic problems and ensuring energy security. The correct strategy is to generate revenue primarily for the people - not for the oil companies. Why a succession of governments has failed to achieve this seems ridiculous when other countries have achieved it so easily. Given the kind of money that could be returned to the State it is foreseeable that projects like the renewable energy sector’s dream of a high-tech electrical grid could be realised, paving the way for Ireland to be a net exporter of renewable power. We could even supply farmers with cheap home produced diesel, slashing their energy bills and thereby gaining a huge competitive edge in what is still Ireland’s largest export sector. We could be saying to the global investment community: “Come to Ireland, we have a cheap and secure energy supply and our economy is backed by oil.” Right now all we are saying is that we are just another debt-ridden state with one of the world’s worst energy policies.

Unfortunately an insipid counter argument is seeping into the media via the voices of the oil lobby and Pat Rabbitte. But it is not being properly deconstructed to show it up for the weak and sneaky diversion that it is. On the one hand Davy Stockbrokers is telling investors that the yield from Irish territory is potentially huge. On the other hand the oil lobby line seems to insinuate that there is nothing there and they are doing us all a tremendous favour in prospecting and extracting what is there in the face of massive risk.  In order to back this up they – and our politicians - are clutching at a handful of twisted statistics.

The most glaringly fraudulent of these is the claim that Ireland’s strike rate has been dismal since 1970. What they are not telling us is that almost no 3D seismic data existed for the Irish territory in the pre-mobile phone era, which is when the vast majority of these failed exploration wells they are referring to were drilled. From 1995 onwards there was a surge in the amount of highly accurate 3D data collected and an impressive increase in the strike rate followed. If we look at the period from 2000 to date then we see that out of 34 drills 10 are “development wells” a far greater ratio of success than the not 4 in 140 that they would have you believe. Furthermore we have voices from the offshore industry telling us that wells considered “non viable” in the 1980s could now be viable due to increased oil prices and the game changing drilling technology of the last fifteen years which can now reach as far down as 4,000 metres.

We would be delighted to challenge anyone who wants to spar on the technicalities of this issue using the data freely available on the government petroleum affairs division site alone. But for now the message is: don’t let anyone dismiss your rightful claims on the basis that you are a nut job who holds a delusionary view of Ireland’s oil and gas potential. We all know who the real nut jobs are by now and we are going to take them to task en masse. As long as people continue - as they have done in this last week - spreading the video and committing to taking action on the website then we can get this changed in what is ultimately just the stroke of a pen.

Please note: We have been inundated with emails and requests and are doing our best to answer everybody. But most importantly we want people to know that our website is not deliberately ambiguous as to what action we will take collectively and certainly not dictatorial – we just need time to update the website and we want to hear from everyone on how they want to change things or how they can help out.

Watch the video below. See myoilandgas.org for more information.

Posted Date: 
7 October 2011