DUBLIN, Ireland, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Irish Natural Resources Minister Fergus O'Dowd said his government aims to attract international investors to an offshore oil and gas auction next year.
"It is important then that the state provides suitable opportunities for international investors and provides the right environment to encourage industry to take the risk associated with investing in exploration," he said at a conference Monday in Dublin.
O'Dowd said at the conference the government would open parts of its territorial waters up for auction starting in April. The auction will run through September 2015 and include an offer for a two-year license for exploration.
No commercial discoveries have been made offshore Ireland since 1996. An energy exploration team led by Exxon Mobil announced in April it started drilling in the Porcupine Basin, a first for deepwater work off the Irish coast.
O'Dowd said there "no guarantees" for offshore success, though there is a "clear forward momentum" because of growing interests in Ireland.
The final details of the auction will be unveiled early next year.