Residents of Dalkey, the poshest Dublin suburb of all, are less than impressed that a major oil find may be literally at their doorstep.
Ireland may henceforth be known as the Emerald Oil, but it is not good news for many of Ireland's biggest names - some of whom do not want their exclusive village turned into an oil refinery center.
Celebrities who live in Dalkey include Bono and The Edge, Van Morrison, Jim Sheridan, best-selling writer Maeve Binchy, Neil Jordan, former Formula One racing driver Eddie Irvine and Enya.
Providence Resources, a major oil company, announced findings that suggests that an area just off the Dalkey coast in the Kish Bank Basin, known to developers as the Dalkey Island exploration prospect, could contain as much as 870 million barrels of oil. It's estimated that Ireland currently consumes 200,000 barrels of oil per day.
If even a third of that figure (up to 300 million barrels) of the potential oil is recoverable, it could be worth up to €18.7 billion ($25 m) Despite some real excitement about the find, especially in the light of Ireland's current economic woes, Providence is distancing itself from overly optimistic guesswork. A leading Irish geologist quoted in the Sunday Independent says there are grounds for optimism. "At least it looks positive enough at this stage, and we're badly in need of good news at present, so the best of luck to them," he said.
However local residents in the posh suburb are not happy. "Possibly it will create jobs but I don't fancy the place turning into a refinery. They said it would be a long way off-shore so I don't think it will have that much of an effect on the views. It may be a sort of gold-rush," Patrick Riordan, who has lived in Dalkey for 36 years, told the Sunday Independent.
"If you look back into the history of Dalkey in the 1700s, there was a gold fever, so I think it will be similar to this and they will eventually find nothing," said another resident, who didn't want to be named.
"If it was April 1, I would have thought it was April's Fool but I do think it will interrupt the view from my house which I am worried about," said local Catherine Crothers.
"It wouldn't surprise me if oil was found. I think it could be an issue where the infrastructure is not attractive and it takes away from the view. That will be where the complaints will arrive. Job creation will be the only positive aspect," said Mary Barry, who has lived in Dalkey for three years.
"I feel sorry for Jim Sheridan if infrastructure is brought in as it will affect his views. I certainly wouldn't like to be looking at a big drilling station when I was fishing," said local fisherman Ciaran Hickey.
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