Shell to Sea has submitted a tender application to the Department of Energy in response to Minister Pat Rabbitte's call for expert advice to review the generous oil and gas terms that are currently on offer to oil and gas companies.
The Shell to Sea tender undertakes to “initiate the most thorough, far-reaching inquiry yet into the fiscal regime governing resource extraction in Ireland, taking all voices into consideration and evaluating all available data”. Shell to Sea stated that it would build on the work that had been published in its in-depth 44 page report entitled Liquid Assets, in which the 69 publicly known prospects and discoveries were analysed. This report showed that energy companies estimate the potential fields could contain 21 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Shell to Sea’s tender bid is free of charge as it feels that “assisting Ireland in getting an adequate return from its own oil and gas is payment enough”.
Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington elaborates: “Corporations like Shell focus on what they call stakeholder buy-in, in layman's terms this means cultivating relationships with key civil servants, political hacks, and PR teams persuading them to keep government policy tilted in favour of the industry – and not the citizen. As a result, when it comes to fiscal policy the thinking at the Department of Energy has remained largely unchanged since the days of Ray Burke.”
In September Pat Rabbitte announced that he was putting out a tender for an expert review of Ireland’s oil and gas terms. This follows the release of Joint Oireachtas Committee report on Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration which among other things recommended a review of offshore fiscal and licensing terms before each licensing round. Shell to Sea said: “this tender for expert advice on Ireland’s oil and gas terms has all the hall-marks of a tick the box exercise from Pat Rabbitte and Fergus Dowd.”
Maura Harrington concluded: “For Pat Rabbitte and Fergus Dowd to view Ireland’s energy potential as another form of FDI shows how little grasp they have of economic reality.”