Assembly Question 7428/17-22
Question: To ask the Minister for the Economy whether she will pause the awarding of a contract for research into the economic, societal and environmental impacts of onshore petroleum exploration and production to allow for a full investigation and understanding of issues and implications of the research to take place.
Answer: My Department is currently undertaking a review of the petroleum licensing regime in Northern Ireland. To inform that review, my Department plans to commission research which will provide the Department with a detailed assessment of the economic, environmental and social impacts of onshore oil and gas exploration and development in Northern Ireland. The Department is currently working through the final stages of the procurement exercise and expects to be in position to provide an update to bidders in due course.
As the outcome of this research will also be used to help inform the future petroleum licensing regime that we adopt in Northern Ireland and include the consideration of many of the issues raised by respondents to the consultations for the petroleum licence applications PLA1/16 and PLA2/16, it is important that this research is started as soon as possible.