23rd September

Own our Oil – The Fight for Irish Economic Freedom

‘Goddammit, we’re being misinformed, misled and exploited ― all over again,’ writes Eddie Hobbs in the opening line of this book, dedicated to the memory of Justin Keating, described as a ‘veterinary surgeon, government minister, broadcaster, writer and humanist, for reasons that become eminently clear as you read into [the] content and listen to the remarkable interview with him on Ownouroil.ie recorded in 2009, the year he died.’

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And a recent convert in his thinking, Hobbs describes his ‘moment of epiphany’ to be as recent as September 2012. ‘Until then I’d assumed that all of the hot air about offshore oil and gas was generated by a dolly mixture of extremists, lefties and planet-before-people types who grasped little about economics, business and risk taking. It was uninformed. It was wrong. It was arrogant.

Self-described as an ‘anthology of essays that packs a punch’, this publication comprises inputs from a team of multidisciplinary writers led by Hobbs who outline how they see Ireland’s leaders have built a system that has been ‘excessively generous to the oil and gas industry abroad’.

To counter this, the team proposes a new approach to regulate and tax the industry so that Ireland may benefit from ‘Irish resources’. It discusses regulation; transparency of licensing arrangements and strategy; viability of oil and gas fields; environmental concerns; tax implications and the argument against change.

It chronicles the history of Ireland’s oil and gas story and ‘except for Justin Keating, no Minister has really stood up for the Irish people on this matter; they are trapped by a short-term electoral cycle that fails to reward long-term strategic thinking', writes Hobbs in the epilogue.

Solutions are proffered with practical examples and latest developments on the international stage, and the potential economic upside of Ireland ‘getting it right’.

The book also charts the Norwegian model of resource management ― which began from ‘scratch’ in the 1970s but forty years later has developed into one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds with consequent societal benefits.

‘Don’t give away too much in the first round, take time to set up a legal framework flexible enough for the State to tighten rules when conditions change, strategic agreements and decisions made in the early phase in an oil region’s development have decisive implications,’ remarks Dr Helge Ryggvik, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.

‘Irish citizens can be empowered and regain control of our natural resources, demand a fair share of the profits and wisely allocate our gains.’

Published by Liberrties Press

ISBN: 978-1-9097-18227 €19.99

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