The Irish government this year announced it was planning a seismic survey offshore to assess the potential for offshore oil and natural gas reserves. The area is considered frontier territory.
Irish Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte told an oil and gas conference in Dublin the government wants to maximize the benefits of offshore development by creating the right investment climate.
"There is a clearly recognized hydrocarbon potential in the Irish offshore and there have been very positive recent signs, in terms of the number and quality of exploration companies getting involved in the Irish offshore," he said in an address published Tuesday.
Ireland, however, is far behind its regional counterparts in terms of exploration, he said. Creating a "fit-for-purpose" regulatory regime could bring more development offshore in the future.
"New entrants will, I believe, bring a new perspective and new interpretation of our hydrocarbon potential," he said.