Oil in Transport
While oil has been virtually eliminated from electricity generation (1% in 2013- source; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland), Ireland depends heavily on oil for transport. Ireland has a dispersed population with a high car dependency and low levels of public transport.
Oil in Heating
Ireland is 43% dependent on oil for household heating (2011 Census) - this is especially important outside urban centres.
The Sustainable Energy Agency of Ireland (SEAI) compiles statistical reports on Ireland's Energy blance. For more information visit SEAI's website.
The downstream oil market in Ireland is fully privatised, liberalised and deregulated. While often overlooked, oil is at the core of societal and economic well-being and will remain so in the medium term until such time as we develop alternatives.
Ireland is 100% dependent on oil imports and has no domestic oil production. Ireland has not yet had any declared commercial oil finds. For information on oil exploration in Ireland.
Ireland holds 90 days of the nation’s previous year’s net oil imports in oil stocks. This means that a short term disruption can be managed through the sale of these stocks to the oil market operators. The National Oil Reserves Agency (NORA) manages the bulk of Ireland’s emergency stocks and may release these in a crisis, on the written direction of the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE).
For more information visit Oil Security Policy Page.
Refining in Ireland
Oil comes in the form of crude oil (this requires refining to turn it into useful products), or, in the form of already refined products, such as, kerosene, gasoline, diesel, gas oil or jet fuel. Both crude and refined products are imported into Ireland.
Crude oil is imported to Ireland by a single refinery at Whitegate, Cork. Approximately one third of crude is imported from the North Sea, one third from West Africa and one third from North Africa. It currently supplies around 30%-40% of the Irish retail market (excluding jet kerosene). In a supply disruption situation, it is estimated that crude oil is likely to be easier to obtain than already refined products.
Irish National Petroleum Corporation (INPC) is the State Company that owned the Whitegate refinery and Bantry Bay Terminal on Whiddy Island until these were sold by the State in 2001. Since then INPC has no staff. It is overseen by a 3 person technical Board whose functions relate to upholding the Minister’s rights and obligations under the 2001 Sale and Purchase Agreement, which principally involves managing environmental claims.
There are no internal or cross-border oil pipelines in Ireland. The Refinery (Whitegate, Cork), shipping, ports, oil terminal storage facilities, oil depots, road tankers and motorways represent critical infrastructure in terms of oil supply.
All oil requirements are fulfilled by seaborne imports. The ports in Ireland with oil terminals that can accept imported refined products for commercial distribution are Dublin, Whitegate, Cork, Foynes and Galway. Dublin Port handles the large cargoes of heating and transport fuel.
Sale of illegal Diesel
Any business or member of the public having information regarding the sale of illicit fuel should contact their local Revenue office in confidence. Revenue Commissioners.
OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries)
OPEC is a permanent intergovernmental organisation of 12 oil-exporting developing nations. Its objective is to coordinate and unify petroleum policies among member countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; and provide an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations.
Irish Petroleum Industry Association (IPIA)
IPIA is the representative body of those companies in Ireland engaged in the importation, distribution and marketing of petroleum products. Its membership represents the majority of the oil industry in Ireland. If an oil disruption occurs the DCENR will engage with IPIA as the representative body for the industry. For more information visit IPIA's website.
International Energy Agency (IEA)
The IEA was founded in response to the 1973/1974 oil crisis. Its role is to help countries coordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of strategic oil stocks to the markets. Participating countries agree to take specific measures to meet oil supply emergencies, including the holding of emergency/strategic stocks, and participation in “collective action” if necessary.
European Union (EU)
The EU monitors the levels of Strategic Stocks held by Member States to ensure they are meeting the requirements set out in the Oil Stocks Directive (Directive 2009/119/EC). Under this Directive, Ireland is required to maintain 90 days of the previous year’s net imports of oil stocks and these must be physically accessible and available for use in the event of a supply disruption.