Onshore Petroleum Licensing Policy for Northern Ireland

Closes 12 Apr 2024

Opened 15 Jan 2024

Overview

The petroleum licensing system is the set of rules for how companies can search for and extract onshore oil and gas in Northern Ireland

In 2019, the Department for the Economy (DfE) began to consider the current onshore petroleum licensing system to assess its effectiveness and impact on sustainability, particularly in light of the UK’s net zero carbon commitments. To support this process, DfE commissioned research into the environmental, social and economic impacts of onshore petroleum exploration and production in Northern Ireland. 

Following the policy development process the Department is consulting on a range of policy options with a preferred option of a moratorium and eventual legislative ban on all forms of onshore petroleum exploration and production.

The consultation document can be found on this page and it sets out

- the global and local context for onshore petroleum licensing;

- details of the independent Northern Ireland research;

- details of the policy options for onshore petroleum licensing in Northern Ireland; and

- details of the preferred option for onshore petroleum licensing policy in Northern Ireland.

You can also find two pieces of independent research relevant to the consultation

-  The Potential Economic, Social and Environmental Impact of Onshore Petroleum Development in Northern Ireland (Hatch Regeneris 2021)

- Potential risks of induced seismicity from high volume hydraulic fracturing of shales in Northern Ireland (British Geological Survey 2021)

Why your views matter

We are keen to hear your views on the questions posed in the consultation and the preferred option for onshore petroleum licensing policy in Northern Ireland.

The consultation document analyses the social, environmental and economic impacts of a range of policy options and draft impact assessments have been completed where appropriate. Final impact assessments will be informed by the responses and evidence submitted through this consultation process and will be available alongside the final policy position. Following the consultation, a Section 75 Equality of Opportunity Screening will be completed for the proposed policy option prior to any Ministerial decision being made.

The final decision on the policy for onshore petroleum licensing in Northern Ireland will be taken by a future Executive, informed by the responses and evidence submitted through this consultation process.

There are five questions related to the contents of the consultation as well as other questions that will help us to analyse the responses.  For information regarding the Minerals and Petroleum Branch Privacy Notice following the introduction of GDPR please use the following link: Minerals and Petroleum Branch Privacy Notice

Give us your views

Audiences

  • All stakeholders

Interests

  • Rural Development Programme
  • Climate Change
  • Water Regulation
  • Waste Regulation
  • Pollution Control
  • Farming
  • Agriculture
  • Environment
  • Wildlife
  • NIEA
  • Demography
  • Health
  • Qualifications
  • Labour Market
  • Community
  • Rural
  • Environment
  • Health and social care policy
  • Community safety
  • Policing
  • Historic Environment