Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Year: 2014 - 2015
Location: Republic of Ireland
Sector: Oil and Gas
Service delivered: Strategic Environmental Assessment of the 5th Irish Offshore licensing round

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources announced the details of the 2015 Irish Atlantic Margin Licensing Round, which included Ireland’s major Atlantic basins. In addition, the Irish and Celtic Seas acreage has been available for exploration licensing on an ‘open door’ basis and it is his intention to continue with a policy of open-door licensing in the Irish Sea and Celtic Sea from 2015 to 2020.

The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) therefore needed to prepare plans to issue exploration and production authorisations and ClearLead was part of the team undertaking the fifth offshore Strategic Environmental Assessment (IOSEA 5). The study area lies within Ireland’s Designated Continental Shelf area and extends westwards and southwards out to the 200 nautical mile (nm) limit. Water depths within the Atlantic Margin basins offshore west of Ireland range from 50 m to about 3,500 m.

The objectives of the SEA were to:

  • to inform the DCENR of specific environmental considerations in its future petroleum activities under licensing rounds in the Atlantic Margin Basins, as well as the award of licences in the Celtic and Irish Seas; and
  • to provide exploration companies working offshore with an operational baseline against which they can conduct their work and ensure the protection of the marine environment.

ClearLead provided the Lead Consultant role, managing the delivery and ensuring the technical quality of the SEA and AA outputs as well as attending and facilitating Steering Group meetings and public/stakeholder engagement events. We have led the development of the methodology for the SEA, which has received positive feedback from stakeholders and the environmental report has been widely consulted on with key stakeholders, transboundary consultees and the public.

The SEA has been completed and an Adoption Statement produced. The process and the outputs have been well received by both DCENR and the steering group.