Petroleum Licensing: Hatch Report

Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 6 December 2021.

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Photo of Áine Murphy Áine Murphy Sinn Féin 2:30, 6 December 2021

T3. Ms A Murphy asked the Minister for the Economy to confirm whether, following his examination of the Hatch report, a ban on petroleum licensing is among the options that he is considering presenting to the Executive, given that because we are in the midst of a climate crisis and communities will suffer if we do not take action now to reduce our carbon footprint, allowing the creation of an oil and gas industry in the North, in the face of overwhelming evidence of the harm that that industry will do, will have serious consequences in our communities. (AQT 1863/17-22)

Photo of Gordon Lyons Gordon Lyons DUP

As I said in a previous answer to, I think, Mr Carroll, the Executive will consider all those issues. I hope to take that paper to the Executive in the coming weeks, and it will be up to us to make a decision collectively. We will publish the report then.

Photo of Áine Murphy Áine Murphy Sinn Féin

Thank you, Minister. We are now six months on from the completion of the Hatch report and its contents have still not been publicly released. What is the reason for the delay in the public release of the Hatch report?

Photo of Gordon Lyons Gordon Lyons DUP

The reason is that I want to take it to Executive colleagues first to get a way forward on a policy decision. At that stage, I will release the report to the public.