As the country is about to launch a new round of oil and gas drilling licenses, minister for natural resources, Conor Lenihan, visited the Kinsale gas platform 30 miles off the coast of Cork today (June 14).

He said he wanted to see the industry at work for himself as he announced plans to make safety monitoring for up-stream oil and gas exploration and production the responsibility of the Irish Commission for Energy Regulation.

The Commission already has the safety function for downstream operations, and the minister is increasing state monitoring with the move.

He believes the increased monitoring will increase safety and reinforce the new Petroleum Exploration and Safety Act, which was earlier this year enacted by the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament).

Mr Lenihan: “In the context of recent events in the Gulf of Mexico, I wanted to see first-hand conditions on petroleum rigs operating in Irish waters.

“While I am satisfied all petroleum works carried out in Ireland, from prospecting to bringing the fuel ashore, are carried out to the highest international standards where health, safety and the environment are concerned we must always be sure.”

Luke Walsh

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