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Ireland seeks more drilling rights

Ireland seeks more drilling rights
Wed, Jan 24, 2007
The Government is locked in UN talks this week in a bid to get offshore access to more oil and gas resources.
Ireland can currently drill for natural resources on the sea bed up to 200 miles outside the coastline. However Government officials are meeting with UK, French and Spanish delegations in New York in an effort to gain more continental shelf area.
Ireland has requested access to an extra 39,000 square km off the south-west coast - approximately half the size of the country - from the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
The UN body is expected to make a decision on this submission during its next session in March or April.
Ireland was only the fourth country ever to make a submission to the UN Commission following the Russian Federation in 2001 and Brazil and Australia in 2004.
Last May, Ireland also requested access to 80,000 square km of shelf in the Celtic Sea off the south coast. A decision from the Commission on this is due in August or September.
If 'carve-up' negotiations result between UK, France and Spain, Ireland may be allocated approximately 40 per cent of the area, one Irish official said.
The Government is also concerned about gaining more territory in the Hatton-Rockall Area, off Ireland's north west coast, and may make a submission in coming months.
Ireland , the UK, Iceland and Denmark (on behalf of the Faeroe Islands) all lay claim to extensive areas of the continental shelf in the area concerned. I
Informal consultations have been taking place for more than five years in order to attempt to resolve disputes and work towards agreement.
The next round of such quadrilateral meetings are scheduled to take place in Copenhagen next week.
Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said he was very confident of success in this week's talks in New York.
"The success or otherwise of these talks will have a major bearing on our country in the future. With advances in exploration technology future generations will be in a position to reap whatever resources lie in our extended seabed. What we are working on today could prove vastly beneficial in the future." Mr Ahern said.
© 2007

Posted Date: 
27 January 2007 - 4:55pm