Royalty payments from Cork gas fields dwindle

By Gordon Deegan and Geoff Percival

The State has received only around €104m in royalty payments from the operator of the Kinsale and Ballycotton gas fields off the coast of Cork since 1998, new figures show.

The figures, from the Department of Natural Resources, show the State last year received €700,000 in royalties from operator Petronas. The payments from the two fields have been at their lowest level over the past two years. In 2006, the State received €12.2m from the two fields. The Kinsale gas field was the country’s first ever commercial gas find discovered in 1973.

Meanwhile, exploration veteran Brian O’Cathain has joined the board of Irish- focused company Europa Oil and Gas, in a non-executive capacity. The move marks his further return to the exploration market after leaving his post as chief executive of Petroceltic in 2016, following a bitter two-year battle for control of the company. He also sits on the board of UK-based/ Nigerian-focused explorer Eland Oil and Gas.

Mr O’Cathain’s good standing in exploration circles has long-since been cemented, having earlier in his career been responsible for the appraisal and development of the Corrib field when heading Enterprise Oil; and later leading Tullow Oil’s international division, and helping to build its presence across Africa.

London-based Europa is sitting on an estimated 4.7m barrels of oil equivalent and 1.5 trillion cubic feet of gas over seven licences.

It is trying to secure farm-out agreements for the remainder of its licences after last year landing Scottish explorer Cairn Energy as a development partner for part of its Irish acreage.

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