News article

UK and Ireland: Greater opportunities for commercial investment from natural resources

This world location news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Agreement to establish new formal boundaries between the two countries’ continental shelves and Exclusive Economic Zones

28 March 2013

Our Ambassador Dominick Chilcott, together with Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, signed an Agreement to establish new formal boundaries between the two countries’ continental shelves and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). This delivers on a joint undertaking by the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach and should give investors greater certainty in considering commercial opportunities from natural resources in these areas.

Following the signing ceremony, Dominick Chilcott said: “This is a welcome development and a further demonstration of the close and effective co-operation between the two governments. The sea around these islands has a wealth of natural resources: wind; mineral; and fish. This agreement should help make some areas more conducive to commercial investment, which is in the economic interest of both countries”.

Notes for Editors: The full name of the Agreement is: “Agreement between the UK and Ireland on establishing a single maritime boundary between the Exclusive Economic Zones of the two countries and parts of their continental shelves”.

Under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, coastal states have two basic maritime zones beyond the territorial sea. The first is the continental shelf which extends to 200 nautical miles and further if the geological conditions in the Convention are met; it relates to the seabed and subsoil. The second is the EEZ which extends to 200 nautical miles and relates to activities in the water column, such as fishing and the generation of renewable energy. Following technical negotiations between British and Irish officials, agreement has been reached on new formal boundaries between the two countries’ continental shelves and Exclusive Economic Zones. It will come into force when both sides have completed their necessary internal procedures.