An Oireachtas Committee has called for a sliding 40%-80% tax regime for new finds of oil and gas.

The Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture also calls for greater public consultation and a new licensing regime for offshore exploration.

The Committee has proposed a statutory commitment that qualifying local communities be compensated financially through infrastructure and social development.

A forum involving all the stakeholders, state, commercial and community to assess best practise in the industry is also proposed.

Today's report suggests that best practise in other countries such as Norway and Portugal should be examined and that there should be ongoing contact with similar countries.

Committee chairman Andrew Doyle TD, said that the Committee’s key concern was to strike the appropriate balance between maximising State revenue with incentivising exploration.

"We also recommend much greater consultation with local communities and contact with other countries such as Norway and Portugal, to ensure the future exploration opportunities are developed in line with international best practice. " he added.

A copy of the report will be sent to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.