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Press Release: Government gives away €420 billion in oil and gas reserves while scrambling to cut €4 billion from public spending

News Release
Issued by Dublin Shell to Sea
Wednesday, 9th December 2009
For immediate release

-- Government gives away €420 billion in oil and gas reserves while scrambling to cut €4 billion from public spending--
Shell to Sea are protesting outside Leinster House today (Wednesday, 9th December) to highlight the governments' ongoing giveaway of hundreds of billions of euros of Irish gas and oil to large multinationals while they persist in imposing harsh cuts to our public services and social welfare system.
Dublin Shell to Sea spokesperson Caoimhe Kerins said: “If the government leaks concerning the extent of the cutbacks in today's budget are to be believed, a total of four billion is to be cut from public expenditure. To put the value of Irelands' gas and oil reserves into perspective, they are conservatively estimated to be well over 100 times this amount at approximately €420 billion[i]. Meanwhile, Minister Eamon Ryan continues issuing licenses which gift Ireland's gas and oil to multinationals."
The value of gas in the Corrib field alone was estimated at up to €8 billion by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan. Thanks to legislative changes made by Ray Burke and Bertie Ahern, this is being handed over to a private consortium led by Shell, with no return, royalties or security of supply to the Irish people.
Caoimhe Kerins continued:

"It is our belief that the total capitulation of successive Fianna Fáil led governments to the banks, developers and speculators have landed us in this current economic and fiscal crisis. It is also clear to us that the Fianna Fáil ministers who negotiated the fiscal arrangements over Corrib with Shell and its' partners, equally allowed the oil companies to dictate the terms of the deal. In the words of Mike Cunningham, former director of Statoil E&P Ireland "No country in the world gives as favourable terms to the oil companies as Ireland". While the relationship between former Fianna Fáil ministers Bertie Ahern, Ray Burke, Frank Fahey and the developers have been the subject of investigations and tribunals, the same politicians have yet to explain to the Irish people how they managed to give away our natural resources."
Shell to Sea is a national campaign in support of the Mayo community which is most affected by the Corrib Gas Project. It has six local branches around Ireland. The group seeks to ensure that the Corrib gas is depressurized and odorized offshore in accordance with international best practice. We are calling for a renegotiation of the fiscal terms of the licenses granted to Shell and the consortium involved in the Corrib gas project to ensure that the Irish people see the benefits of our natural resources.

[i] The Great Gas and Oil Giveaway
The Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources has, since 2006, consistently put the volume of oil and gas reserves in the West Coast of Ireland alone at 10 Billion Barrels of Oil Equivalent. The Energy Information Administration of the US Government projects the barrel of oil to average out at 60 US dollars over 2009. Using international exchange rates in September 2009, this equates to €420 billion.  This is a conservative figure as it only accounts for fields located off the West Coast of Ireland and the price of a barrel of oil is expected to increase significantly.


The terms of the Irish state’s deal with the Shell-led consortium are amongst the world’s least advantageous. According to a 2007 study commissioned by the DCENR, Ireland offers one of the lowest government takes in the world. If this deal with multinationals is allowed to continue the Irish people will receive no royalties, no stake hold and only 25% corporate tax from Irish oil and gas reserves. All exploration and development costs can currently be written off against tax at 100%. Several countries have substantially re-negotiated oil and gas deals with multinationals in recent years, and the framework exists in the Corrib gas licensing terms for Ireland to do the same.

* A press pack was launched in November with information relating to all aspects of the Shell to Sea campaign, with a particular focus on The Great Oil and Gas Giveaway, human rights abuses and the health, safety and environmental impacts of the Corrib Gas Project.  If you would like a press pack please contact Caoimhe Kerins on the number below.



Caoimhe Kerins