The Minerals Act 1960 relates to petroleum. It deals with granting of exploration licences petroleum prospecting licences petroleum leases reserved area licences and other matters.

Petroleum includes any mineral oil e hydrocarbon or natural gas, liquid, gaseous hydrocarbon or its constituent elements existing in strata and includes s any mineral substance contained in it brought to the surface in the normal process of extraction. It is not included coal or bituminous shale or other stratified deposits from which oil can be extracted by distillation.

Broadly similar legislation as exists above in relation to mineral development, exist in respect of petroleum licence.

The ancillary rights as apply in respect of minerals apply in respect of petroleum leases. These include rights to

  • let down a surface or super incumbent or adjacent strata up to the surface.
  • rights to construct, operate and maintain roads and railways for access.
  • rights to lay pipelines erect pumping storage station loading racks, terminals and facilities.
  • rights to supply water or other substances in connection with the working of petroleum.
  • right to dig or drill wells.
  • right to dispose of waste.
  • right to divert waters roadway streets, et cetera
  • rights to bikes demolish buildings which impede working

All State petroleum vest in the Minister. It is prohibited to search for petroleum unless a person holds a petroleum prospecting licence or reserved area licence or his lessee under a lease which is not expired.

Petroleum lease may be granted by the Minister on such terms as may be thought fit.  The Petroleum Division of the Department has published criteria in respect of petroleum licenses.

The Minister may compulsively acquire land and pay compensation for the purpose of the exploitation of petroleum.  It would appear that no commercial reserves petroleum has been discovered on land in Ireland.

Compensation was payable by the Minister in respect of petroleum vested in him under the petroleum and other mineral developments legislation.

The Minister may enter an undertaking to grant a lease or licence to a person to whom a petroleum prospecting licence or exploration licence has been granted. They may be subject to such terms as may be provided for payment, and otherwise.

The Minister has s power to grant exploration licences to any person. It may operate in respect of such area as may be specified.

Every exploration area licence operates to vest the exclusive right of searching for petroleum in the area concerned. It must contain certain indemnities, including indemnity arising out of liability of the Minister and arising out of exercise of the right.

Searching for petroleum includes all such things as are necessary or desirable for the purpose of ascertaining the character extent or value of th petroleum in the area concerned. It includes geological, geophysical, geochemical and topographic examination, making borings, sinking pits, removing water and taking reasonable quantities of petroleum and minerals for analysis test and experiment.

A petroleum prospecting licence may be on such terms as the Minister specifies. It may provide for the payment of money.

Where there isn’t an existing exploration licence or petroleum prospecting licence reserved petroleum lease, the Minister may exercise all powers, he would have, as if she was holder of an exploration licence or prospecting licence.

Where the Minister is satisfied that is in the public interest, a petroleum lease may be granted. This permits the working of petroleum under land. An environmental impact assessment is generally required. An exemption from an EIS may be granted by the Minister where the lease does not exceed certain quantities.

The Minister has the right to work and dispose of petroleum products.

The lessee under a petroleum licence or Minister may enter land for the purpose of the working of petroleum and such incidental rights as arise. Compensation must be paid for disturbance damage and nuisance due to the working or doing anything incidental to the working of petroleum or the exercise of rights of entry.

The lessees under a petroleum lease must notify as soon as petroleum is brought to the surface. They must send such information as may be required in relation to the petroleum demised by the lease or the working of it. The s information must be supplied within 28 days of being required. Regulations prescribe the form of the information. Failure to comply is no friend.

Upon discontinuation or abandonment of petroleum licensing activities, the Minister may require borehole shafts to be covered and fenced et cetera.

The Minister may grant, after granting a petroleum lease, a reserved area licence in respect of an area surrounding the leased area. This is granted on such terms as the Minister thinks proper and specifies. It grants the rights to the licensee are would be exercisable by the holder of an exploration licence in the area, While such a licence is in force, the Minister may not grant an exploration, prospecting petroleum lease etc. any other person other than with the consent of the licensee.

The Minister has powers to revoke the various licences and leases if he is hey are satisfied that the conditions are not being satisfied. Licences terminate on individual’s death or bankruptcy or dissolution of the company.

There are powers to compulsorily acquire land or ancillary rights and to make a working facilities acquisition order either permanently or temporarily.

Regulations made in relation to petroleum operations. This includes regulations regarding

  • siting and spacing of wells
  • restrictions on production from boreholes in certain locations.
  • safety measures
  • conservation measures.
  • blocking of abandoned boreholes.
  • measurement of petroleum.

It is an offence to breach any of the above obligation.

Where the Minister determines a petroleum operation is being conducted in a manner which may cause last contamination deterioration misuse of resources of petroleum or mineral which could not otherwise occur, he may serve a notice requiring remedial action to prevent such loss contamination deterioration or misuse occurring.

Where the Minister is satisfied that petroleum operations are being used in such a way as to cause unnecessary damage, he may serve a notice requiring remedial action. It is an offence not to comply and the Minister may take such remedial action as may be required by the notice and recover the expenses from licence holder.

The Minister must be given notice of sinking of shafts and boreholes. This applies to a shaft or boreholes more than 20 feet below the surface for the purpose of searching for getting petroleum. Notice must be given within 14 days.


Important Notice! This website is provided for informational purposes only! It is a fundamental condition of the use of this website that no liability is accepted for any loss or damage caused by reason of any error, omission, or misstatement in its contents. 

Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *