The Irish Continental Shelf has been explored for many years and at the end of 2008, twenty-seven exploration licences had been granted on the Irish Continental Shelf. Atlantic Petroleum obtained licences in the area in 2007 and currently has one standard exploration licences. As is the case for the UK Continental Shelf, a number of the largest oil companies in the world have licence interests in the Irish region. There are currently four producing offshore fields around Ireland, all producing gas.

Much has been done to promote oil and gas exploration on the Irish Continental Shelf, including a tax regime designed to encourage further exploration in the area.