Rabbitte asks oil industry whether licensing terms are too generous to oil industry

Minister dictates what consultants’ findings should be: that things are fine the way they are

Wood Mackenzie logoLast week Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte named the company chosen to carry out a “fitness-for-purpose” review of Ireland’s infamous licensing terms for oil and gas exploration. Unfortunately, the company he has tasked with carrying out this review is Wood Mackenzie, a company at the heart of the very industry that stands to gain from Ireland’s “attractive” licensing regime remaining as it is. Wood Mackenzie is an oil industry consultancy firm: what Mr Rabbitte is asking it to do is recommend whether or not he should reduce the share of revenue that some of its clients will receive from the sale of Irish oil and gas.

Wood Mackenzie’s parent company Hellman & Friedman also jointly owns an LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) engineering company with oil major Total (see note below). Continue reading

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Gardaí, GSOC, ‘whistleblower reprisal’, Corrib Gas and the ‘rape tape’

Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe’s first contact with a TD came about because he saw Clare Daly TD on ‘Tonight with Vincent Browne’ talking about policing of Corrib Gas protests, writes William Hederman

The repercussions for Garda whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson will be familiar to others who have publicly embarrassed An Garda Síochána. They were clearly acting in the public interest, but their revelations brought the force into disrepute, and the two men suffered as a result. Revenge was exacted – not only by colleagues, but also by way of public denunciation by the Garda Commissioner (“disgusting”), the Minister for Justice (“not co-operating”) and by various other parties loyal to the force.

Continue reading

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The day Pat Kenny called me a Luddite: RTÉ radio debate about Ireland’s oil and gas

I was a guest on the Today with Pat Kenny radio show on May 28th, 2013, to discuss Ireland’s management (or mismanagement) of its oil and gas resources. I was debating against David Horgan, MD of Irish exploration company Petrel Resources. Bizarrely, during the debate Pat Kenny suggested there was “a touch of the Luddite” about me, because I favoured renewable energy over fossil fuels (yes, that’s right, not the other way around). You can listen to the item here:
Today with Pat Kenny: 28 May 2013

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Opinion article in Evening Echo: ‘Ireland will not reap the reward of oil finds’

Below echo_pic_oilrigis an an opinion article by me that appeared in the Evening Echo (a daily newspaper published in Cork) on May 1st, about the fact that Ireland has very little control over its oil and gas resources. The article came about because of a news report in the newspaper three weeks previously, on April 8th, titled ‘Oil must be refined in Ireland for financial benefits’, in which I was quoted at length. Unfortunately, because of an error by the newspaper, that news article misquoted me in a very significant way. It gave the impression that I was mistaken about a key aspect of Ireland’s licensing terms for oil and gas. Continue reading

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Corrib will pay little or no tax: who is to blame?

If an oil company takes longer than expected to complete an oil or gas extraction project and, as a result of those delays, ends up paying no revenue to the state from whose territory for oil or gas extracted, most people would conclude that there is something wrong with how that state manages its natural resources. However, some people prefer to direct all of the blame on protesters for the absence of revenue. Continue reading

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Tony O’Reilly Jnr quizzed on BBC’s ‘Today’ programme about Ireland’s bad deal from oil

Providence boss repeats usual myths about Irish oil/gas fields 

By William Hederman

Tony O'Reilly JnrThe BBC appears to be more clued in to the realities of Ireland’s mismanagement of our oil and gas resources than are many people here in Ireland.

This morning (Wednesday, 10th October 2012) the CEO of Providence Resources, Tony O’Reilly Jnr, was interviewed live on BBC Radio 4’s flagship current affairs programme, ‘Today’, following the company’s announcement that its Barryroe field off Cork will yield 280 million barrels of oil. The presenter quizzed O’Reilly about the bad deal Ireland will get from production of Irish oil. [See link at end of this article to an audio file of the BBC interview]  Continue reading

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‘Dalkey and oil’ – opinion piece on Broadsheet.ie

By William Hederman

[Article published on Broadsheet.ie on 4th October 2012]

“We’re going to be rich” That was one response on Twitter last night to the news that Providence Resources has been granted a licence to drill for oil less than 10km from Dalkey Island. While more and more people understand that it is private companies rather than Ireland that will get rich from oil and gas discoveries here, there is still a stunning level of ignorance around this topic. Much of this comes from politicians and journalists. Continue reading

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Our oil and gas might as well be off the coast of Brazil for all the good it will do us

Comment piece by William Hederman published in today’s Irish Daily Mail (10 September 2012)

The dogs in the street now understand that Ireland’s share of revenue from our oil and gas fields is set to be pitifully small, thanks to terms handed down by Ray Burke. It’s no longer just campaigners who want change. In May an Oireachtas committee with a majority of Government TDs issued a report calling for the terms to be radically overhauled.

The oil companies are desperate to maintain the status quo. They defend their corner mainly by portraying our offshore as a lonely wasteland, where exploration is almost non-existent and where finding oil or gas is but a remote possibility. Our “attractive” terms (the world’s most generous to the oil companies) must be maintained until Ireland is a “proven territory”, they insist.

Research to be published today tells a very different story.  Continue reading

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Ireland totally unsuited to fracking – Greg Palast

By William Hederman 

Greg Palast in Dublin. Photo: William Hederman

Ireland is totally unsuited to the process of hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ to extract natural gas, according to the best-selling author of a book on the global oil and gas industry. Greg Palast, a renowned investigative journalist, said there was “no chance whatsoever” that US regulators would allow the controversial process in the kind of terrain for which it is proposed in Ireland.  Continue reading

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Why journalists are afraid of covering the Corrib Gas project

By William Hederman

This is a paper I presented at the People’s Forum in Inver in north Mayo on July 7th, 2012

On her radio programme a few weeks ago, (Saturday, April 14th, 2012), Marian Finucane interviewed the parents of Michael Dwyer, the Irishman shot dead by security forces in Bolivia in 2009. Michael had been brought to Bolivia by men he had met while working with them on the Corrib Gas project, men with links to fascist organisations in Eastern Europe. They were employees of IRMS, the security firm contracted by Shell to police the project. Continue reading

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