The Atlantic Margin, which runs down from Greenland, past the west coast of Scotland and Ireland, to the west coast of Africa, has been identified by Cairn Energy as an under-explored area with great potential.

Exploration has now begun in Ireland's Atlantic Margin.

Two licences, about 100 miles off Ireland, at the Spanish Point gas condensate and the Burren oil discoveries, are estimated to contain more than 200 million barrels recoverable oil equivalent.

The Porcupine Basin, off Ireland's west coast, has huge exploration and development potential according to Cairn. In the Dunquin Prospect, off south-west Ireland, EN1 and Repsol are drilling the 1.7 billion barrel oil equivalent gas condensate.

The Barryroe Block, in which Esso made finds in the 1970s, contains around 340 million barrels recoverable oil reserves. The Irish government offer more attractive terms for exploration and development than the UK. Cairn is to spend £50 million hunting for oil and gas off the Irish coast.

Some pertinent points emerge from this Irish good news story.

First, some of the Irish finds go back decades. Have similar large finds been made off the west coast of Scotland in the North Atlantic sector, but put "on hold" for now? We know the oil majors have been sniffing around for oil and gas in the Atlantic, off Scotland's west coast, for decades, and that significant finds of oil and gas were made and put under wraps until it was economic to extract this vast Scottish wealth.

Secondly, the Scottish North Atlantic sector is part of this rich Atlantic Margin.

Thirdly, why the publicity splurge about Ireland's Atlantic Margin oil and gas reserves but near-total silence about the oil and gas reserves in the Scottish North Atlantic sector?

Fourthly, Ireland is independent and will benefit financially from every drop of oil that flows from its massive reserves. Compare that with Scotland, where every penny of Scottish oil and gas revenues goes straight to London. The Irish have control over tax on their oil exploration and development. The Scots do not.

Irish eyes are smiling all the way to the bank. Scottish eyes are blinkered while they lose the benefits of all their oil and gas revenues to London and are told blatant lies about their oil and gas resources declining.

Do you think the Irish would throw their lot back in with England and give London all their oil and gas revenues?

William C McLaughlin,


Stonehill Road,



South Lanarkshire.