Ireland imports all of its oil and relies in foreign sources for 90 percent of its natural gas needs. Natural Resources Minister Fergus O'Dowd signed off on plans to conduct a seismic survey off the coast of Ireland to examine the domestic oil and natural gas potential.
He said the survey would last about 145 days. Part of the survey may extend into next year, however, depending on weather conditions.
The information will be used by the government to evaluate the potential for offshore development.
"At a cost of $26 million this is by far the largest regional seismic survey acquired in the Irish offshore, and will provide a regional grid of high-quality seismic data over Ireland's frontier basins," he said in a statement published Tuesday.
The survey will be conducted by the Irish subsidiary of Italian energy company Eni in coordination with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in the Atlantic waters.