The potential benefit of offshore oil or gas finds to the economy is the theme of a new report from the Irish Offshore Operators' Association.

The group says the Irish Offshore Oil and Gas Sector could create over 1,500 jobs annually and deliver tax revenue of almost €11 billion.

In the report there are many examples of this potential revenue, such as an oil find creating €16.25 billion in expenditure, 1,200 jobs annually and tax revenue of €8.5 billion.

Chief executive of Europa Oil & Gas Hugh Mackay said there are numerous examples of such finds off the Irish coast at the moment.

"There's the Corrib gas field - it's in production. It's a very important asset for Ireland, responsible last year for 66% of Ireland's gas demand.

"With oil, Ireland currently imports 100% of its oil," Mr Mackay said, adding there's a gas discovery at Barryroe operated by Providence which is also a potential oil discovery of 350 million barrels.

The issue now is around what the best way to develop the discovery is, according to Mr Mackay.


He said at his own company, Europa Oil & Gas, "we believe that we have got gas - at its nearest point 10km from the Corrib gas field - that could utilise the Corrib infrastructure and could provide Ireland with the energy security that it needs, given that gas is a very important component of Ireland's energy mix".

The report highlights the sustained need for oil and gas, however, globally there is a push to transition away from fossil fuels to lower-carbon and more sustainable energy sources.

The industry's report estimates that demand for electricity in Ireland could increase by as much as 57% in the next decade, with gas consumption forecast to increase by 35% and oil by 15% by 2030.

The research also claims that in that time-frame, it will still be required that oil and gas constitute most of Ireland's energy supply mix (87% by 2030) and with a 51% increase projected in renewable energy sources, they will account for 12% of the overall energy supply mix.

On this, Mr Mackay says "the last ten years have seen huge changes in energy.

"Ireland has got a challenge, it has got one of the best performing economies in Europe, its electricity demand is forecast to increase by up to 57% by 2050, which is astonishing.

"It's going to require the contribution of renewables - that's onshore wind, that's offshore wind, solar and gas in order to meet that demand.

"At the moment 40% of Ireland's gas is imported ... there are always issues of energy security simply because gas comes in pipes and Ireland is at the end of the pipeline.

The Europa CEO concluded by saying that the political uncertainty surrounding Brexit "isn't doing anything positive for energy security at the moment".