DUBLIN, Ireland, June 12 (UPI) -- Ireland can mimic the success of its British and Norwegian neighbors by tapping into offshore oil and natural gas reserves, the Irish energy minister said.
Irish Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte said Wednesday his government constructed the necessary regulatory framework to promote interest offshore Ireland. He told an industry event in Dublin the Irish government viewed its energy sector as a foundation for long-term economic success.
"We can see from success of our neighbors the U.K. and Norway the long-term economic gains associated with the [oil and natural gas] finds can be enormous," he said in his remarks.
The United Kingdom and Norway are among the largest producers of oil and natural gas among European Union member states. Ireland, meanwhile, imports all of its oil and relies in foreign sources for 90 percent of its natural gas needs.
Natural Resources Minister Fergus O'Dowd last week signed off on plans to conduct a seismic survey off the coast of Ireland to examine the domestic oil and natural gas potential.
The information will be used by the government to evaluate the potential for future offshore development.