Oil and gas exploration in Northern Ireland

Any person who wants to explore for, drill for, or extract oil or gas in Northern Ireland must hold a Petroleum Licence granted by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) under the Petroleum (Production) Act (Northern Ireland) 1964. The application and licensing process is underpinned by regulations which, among other things, set out the arrangements for making and determining applications, permissible terms and conditions for granting a Petroleum Licence and the model clauses which may be incorporated in a Petroleum Licence.

On 29 June 2010 the DETI published a Notice in the Official Journal of the European Union (1) (2) announcing the availability of all of onshore Northern Ireland for Petroleum Licence applications and inviting applications by 27th August 2010. The first phase of applications in accordance with this Notice closed on 27th August 2010 and all applications received by that date have been processed and four new licenses were granted in 2011, shown below.

Licensing in Northern Ireland

*Current partners in the PL1/10 licence are Brigantes Energy Ltd. (40%), InfraStrata plc (30%), Nautical Petroleum plc (20%) and Terrain Energy Ltd. (10%). InfraStrata plc remains the operator for Phase1 of the work programme.

All of onshore Northern Ireland, with the exception of those licensed areas shown on the above map, are available for Petroleum Licence applications. Applications will be considered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis – i.e. unless two or more valid applications are made (received by the Department) on the same day then the first such application received will be assessed before any other applications, for coincident or overlapping areas, received later.

These web pages provide information on licensing, prospectivity, available exploration data and publications and contact information interested in oil or gas exploration in Northern Ireland. Licence application forms and guidance for applicants are available to download from these pages or from the DETI Petroleum Licensing webpages.

Please check the updates page for latest developments.

Last Updated: 27th July 2012