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Failure to secure Oil reserves ‘a serious lack of Brexit Planning’ – David Cullinane TD

19 September, 2019 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Communications, Climate Action and Environment David Cullinane has called on Minister Richard Bruton to explain why the cabinet signed off on a no-deal Brexit plan that leaves vital Irish oil reserves outside of government control.

Deputy Cullinane said:

“Under current EU rules, all members must have 90 days oil supply on reserve in case of emergency. Today, in response to a question my colleague Seán Crowe put to Minister Bruton, we were informed that just 62% of the national oil reserve is actually held within the Irish state, with 24% in other EU states and 14% held in Britain.

“It is hardly a paradigm of good planning to have 40% of the national oil reserve held outside the jurisdiction of the state.

“In the context of Brexit and no-deal planning, it is utterly bizarre to leave 14% of the reserve under the ultimate control of the British government.

“If there is a no-deal, we will need the security that comes with 90 days’ supply.

“This is basic emergency planning and it is worrying that it has not occurred to Minister Bruton or indeed his cabinet colleagues that this should be the case.

“Minister Bruton, along with Tánaiste Coveney, need to explain why they have allowed this to happen, six weeks from the Brexit deadline.

“It also calls into question the depth and sophistication of the current Brexit plan, given such a glaring oversight.”

Note to editors: A copy of the question mentioned in Deputy Cullinane's statement can be found below.

For Written Answer on : 18/09/2019
Question Number(s)174 Question Reference(s): 37781/19
Department: Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Asked by: Seán Crowe T.D.


[Ref No.: 37781/19]

*  To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if all oil reserves held in Britain have now been relocated to Ireland as part of no-deal Brexit contingency plans by his Department. - Seán Crowe.

*    For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 18th September, 2019.

(523  Received on 12th September, 2019.)

Transferred from Foreign Affairs and Trade


The Government has made no decision to move the State’s strategic oil stocks held in the United Kingdom back to Ireland.

The National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) manages Ireland’s strategic oil stocks. Currently, 62% of Ireland’s stockholding is held in Ireland, 14% in the UK (including Northern Ireland) and 24% within other EU member states. NORA’s preference to hold stocks in Ireland is in line with Government policy; however insufficient storage capacity within Ireland necessitates the holding of some stocks abroad.

When the United Kingdom leaves the EU, stocks held in the United Kingdom, including those in Northern Ireland, will still be counted towards our International Energy Agency obligation.

The Irish oil industry does not anticipate product shortages on the markets as a result of the United Kingdom withdrawal. Given this and the quantity of strategic oil stocks held in Ireland, there is no scenario currently envisaged where we would be required to repatriate and utilise Irish stocks held on mainland UK.

Dublin Port Company, under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, are engaging with key stakeholders in putting in place contingency plans aimed at ensuring the port facility remains accessible, including the commercial oil terminals.

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