The Irish government is expected to agree this week on a plan to move all of the Republic’s oil reserves out of the UK as Ireland steps up its preparations for Brexit, Ireland’s Sunday Independent reported.
Under the plan, seen as one of the most significant Brexit decisions for Ireland so far, Ireland will transfer the nearly 200,000 tons of oil out of British refineries and back into Ireland or other EU member states, as the UK is preparing to leave the European Union bloc.
According to Sunday Independent, the oil would be moved out of the UK “for national security reasons.”
“We pay for storage there so that will have serious implications for UK refineries who have stored our oil for almost two decades,” a senior Irish government source told Sunday Independent.
Ireland has 1.5 million tons of oil reserves. Some 500,000 tons of those reserves are stored in other countries, including the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Spain. The remaining 1 million tons are held at ports along Ireland’s coasts.
Under the EU’s Oil Stocks Directive, EU countries must keep emergency stocks of crude oil and/or petroleum products equal to at least 90 days of net imports or 61 days of consumption, whichever is higher.
According to reports, one of Ireland’s options for moving the oil reserves out of the UK could be physically moving the oil via tankers. An alternative is also being considered – to make trade deals in which the ownership of UK oil in other EU member state is transferred to Ireland, without the need to physically move the oil.
While it is studying where to keep its oil reserves after Brexit, Ireland could become the first country in the world to quit fossil fuel investments completely, after the Fossil Fuel Divestment bill was passed by the country’s lower house, the Dáil Éireann, last week.