International Oil Companies: Some Considerations for the Development of Ireland's Hydrocarbon Resources.
Studies - An Irish Quarterly Review, 71 (281).
The purpose of this paper is to examine some of the implications of the
development of Irish hydrocarbon resources by international oil
companies. A number of introductory observations, however, are
necessary in order to set this examination in context.
Hydrocarbons, of which the most economically important are oil and
natural gas, are formed by the crushing of organic material under
masses of sediment carried onto continental shelves or inland seas by
rivers emanating from adjoining landmasses. We can infer, therefore,
that hydrocarbons will be found to some degree in any part of the
world where accumulations of sediment are present. Many such
accumulations now form dry land, it should be noted, due to move
ments in the earth's crust. The distribution of oil and gas production is
a function principally of the degree of accumulation of oil/gas into
pools or reservoirs, the size of these reservoirs, and the cost of
extraction. Cost here includes local taxation levels, risk factors, and
transport costs, as well as direct extraction costs. Offshore extraction
costs are of course much greater than those on dry land, so that off
shore production on a wide scale was not feasible until the major price
increases of 1973.
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