[Sinn Fein]

15 November 2002

Seven Heads gas deal will not benefit Irish consumers

The Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Natural Resources, Martin Ferris TD has claimed that the sale by US multi national Ramco of its output from the Seven Heads gas field to the German firm Innogy will not bring any benefits for Irish consumers. The gas, which is estimated to be worth ¤640m, was being sought by Bord Gáis which is currently importing more than 85% of its supplies.

Commenting on the announcement, Deputy Ferris said;

``This deal is only the latest example of the complete dependence which this state has on multi national oil and gas companies both for the supply and exploitation of our mineral resources. It is also a disgrace that the state company Bord Gáis was unable to secure this supply. Such is the lack of control which the state has over our natural resources that Ramco are not even obliged to disclose the full terms of the deal. Nor do they have to pay any royalties.

``At a time when Bord Gáis is introducing steep price increases which will have severe effects on the most vulnerable in our society, Innogy s intention to deal solely with industrial users is not good news for consumers.

``I intend to raise this issue with Minister Noel Ahern in the Dáil next week. I will be asking him to explain in what way he believes this will benefit this state, and to set out his Department s vision for the future development of our natural resources in the light of significant recent announcements concerning both oil and gas.''

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