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Ireland Prioritizes Energy Projects As Brexit Looms

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Ireland’s Energy Minister told reporters last week that ending the country’s dependence on Britain for virtually all of its energy needs had become a national priority as the technical negotiations regarding Brexit unfold.

A power cable that connects Ireland to France and a liquefied natural gas terminal have been given new importance, Minister Denis Naughten told Reuters on Friday.

"It has become a bigger priority for everyone on foot of Brexit...because we are so dependent on imports of energy, we need to have options available to us," Naughten said after a summit of EU energy ministers in Brussels. "We are in a very different era now post Brexit and because of that the issues that hadn't been looked at in the past are being revisited.”

A lack of clarity in the implementation of both projects had been keeping the pair from completion, though funds or budget constraints have not been at issue so far.

"It is important for people to remember: The Berlin wall is gone; we still have walls," the minister added. "And the only way that we can provide long-term peace in northern Ireland is to have economic stability, and energy is a key part of that."

Energy links between Britain and Ireland provide eighty-eight percent of the latter’s electricity.

The Irish government has already awarded some drilling licenses in the Porcupine Basin, the second round which was awarded in mid-2016. A total of 14 licenses were awarded as part of this tranche, with the projects going to a slate of juniors including AzEire Petroleum, Capricorn Ireland, Europa Oil and Gas, Faroe Petroleum, Petrel Resources, Predator Oil and Gas, Providence Resources, Ratio Petroleum and Scotia Oil and Gas.

The first round licenses, which were awarded earlier in 2016, attracted the likes of BP, ExxonMobil, Eni and Statoil.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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