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Ireland will phase out oil production but 'transitional' gas to stay

25 Sep 2019 3:13 PM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

JUST two months after Ireland’s government killed off a piece of legislation aimed at banning offshore oil and gas exploration and production, Ireland’s head of government Taoiseach Leo Varadkar delivered a speech at the UN Climate Summit in New York pledging to phase out oil exploration.

During his speech, the Irish prime minster said the Irish independent Climate Change Advisory Council had recommended exploration for oil should end, "as it is incompatible with a low carbon future," and the government would no longer issue exploration licenses.

"I accept this advice and Ireland will now act on it," Varadkar said.

Under the government's plans exploration licenses already awarded will be unaffected until 2035. However future oil exploration permits will no longer be granted in the majority of offshore Ireland.

"In practice, and initially, it means a moratorium on exploration in 80% of our waters," he said.

While oil exploration will be affected, gas exploration will be encouraged.

"[The CCAC] recommended that exploration for natural gas should continue for now, as a transition fuel that we will need for decades to come while alternatives are developed and fully deployed," Varadkar said. 

The speech flies in the face of the government's position just months ago, when the government said banning oil and gas would only increase the need to rely on importing resources.

Varadkar said he wants Ireland to be known as a "green country" that will "act on the climate and environmental challenges facing our planet".

Source: Energy News Bulletin

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