Irish Government awards 14 oil and gas exploration licenses
The Irish Government has awarded 14 new licenses for oil and gas exploration off the coast of Ireland, as part of first phase of the 2015 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round.
The new licenses have been awarded to companies including oil majors Eni, Exxon and Statoil, for exploration of new areas for two years.
A total of 43 applications have been received as part of the tender round which involves an area in the southern Porcupine Basin.
The Irish Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Joe McHugh said: "The response to the Round has been extremely positive, with 43 applications for Licensing Options received by the deadline of September 2015.
"This is by far the largest number of applications received in any licensing round held in the Irish offshore. At a time of very low oil prices the strong interest in the Round is very positive."
"Industry's response to the Round demonstrates the perceived positive exploration opportunity of Ireland's offshore and highlights confidence in the Irish regulatory process and the ability of industry to do business in Ireland."
Firms including Europa, Scotia, and Woodside have secured one licence award each while Nexen secured four license acreages.
Eni in partnership with BP has been awarded one license while ExxonMobil with Statoil team won six licenses.
The government plans to announce the second and final phase of awards in mid-May this year.