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Oil Key Facts

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​Oil in Transport

While oil has been virtually eliminated from electricity generation (1.7% in 2016- 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 37% dependent on oil for household heating (Source: 2016 Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) - this is especially important outside urban centres.

Oil Consumption

The Sustainable Energy Agency of Ireland (SEAI) compiles statistical reports on Ireland's Energy blance. For more information visit SEAI's website.

Oil Market

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.

Import Dependency

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.

Oil Stocks

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), and 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 into Ireland by a single refinery at Whitegate, Cork. This oil comes from various locations where light/sweet (low density/low sulphur) crude is found (e.g. the North Sea, North and West Africa, Canada and the United States).  The Refinery currently supplies around 40% of refined products (excluding jet kerosene) to the Irish retail market.

In a supply disruption situation, it is estimated that crude oil is likely to be easier to obtain than already refined products.


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 DCCAE 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.