Current government policy is undermining Ireland’s national energy security and its potential to become almost entirely energy self-sufficient, the Rural Independent Group has said.

Ireland must have the policy options to develop its own oil and gas supplies in the Celtic Sea at Barryroe, where, the group said, projections indicate 365 million barrels of equivalent oil and gas resources.

Using the potential to become almost entirely energy self-sufficient would mean, in the short term, the group said, opening up the Barryroe supply and developing alternative renewable energy sources.

Recent government policy, which, the group said, is strongly influenced by the “single lane and oftentimes narrow ideological position of the Green Party”, worsens the unprecedented energy crisis.

The Rural Independent Group explained:

“Importing the necessary oil and gas will not only create a much larger carbon footprint, it will also be more costly and leaves us extremely vulnerable to supply and price shocks. Furthermore, the monetary cost of importing oil represents a net loss to the Irish economy and the exchequer.”

This current policy approach will send this country and its people down a “dangerous energy eddy”, the group said, and Ireland will continue to need natural gas for a long time into the future.

Ireland’s oil and gas demand

Ireland is left open to any and all international future events, exposing not only households but the entire economy to price hikes that are completely outside of the country’s control, according to the group.

Today, the group said, almost all of Ireland’s oil and the vast majority of gas are imported. Oil products are primarily from the UK with the remainder imported from the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, the US and Belgium.

Gas imports come through the Moffat gas interconnector which links through the UK and the European gas-pipeline network. The group added that this supply has its origin in countries including the UK, Norway, Qatar, Algeria, Russia, and Libya.

The Rural Independent Group explained:

“Moving away from Russian supplies for both oil and gas, at EU level, will have a detrimental impact, whether directly or indirectly, on supply to Ireland. That is why the only practical solution is to reopen access to new supplies off our coast.”

The development of Barryroe oil and gas is environmentally superior to what is being imported today, and would harness the required energy security, while reducing costs for everyone here, the group said.

Under EU directives on energy regulation, Ireland is obligated to plan and develop self-sufficiency options. “There is no justifiable case for not developing our own oil and gas resources,” the group said.