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Ferris calls for State involvement in oil and gas exploration

3 May, 2006

Speaking this evening in support of a Private Members Bill on the regulation of oil and gas resources, the Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Natural Resources, Martin Ferris TD has called for the state to take a more proactive role in both the supervision of the sector and in implementing a tax and royalties scheme that will ensure that the people of the country benefit from the potentially massive reserves that lie in Irish waters.

Deputy Ferris specifically referred to the economic benefits which have accrued to Norway on foot of their policy.

Deputy Ferris said: "Because of the role of the Norwegian state, through the state company Statoil, and through direct and indirect taxes a high proportion of the value created from the sector goes into the public purse. In 2004, the state‚s net cash flow from the petroleum sector amounted to 28 percent of its total revenues. Since 1969, net revenues to the state have amounted to around 700 Billion Euro in current terms.

"When we consider that the Corrib field has been estimated to be worth up to €21 billion, we can see the potential benefits if a similar regime was applied in this state. We would be talking of over €10 billion from Corrib alone, and that is not to mention the Kinsale field and the possibility that oil and gas will also be brought ashore at other locations. . Think of how far that would go in solving some of the problems which this Government claims it does not have the money to do." ENDS

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