A wide-ranging review of the onshore petroleum licensing system in Northern Ireland is underway, the economy minister, Diane Dodds, said this afternoon.
Speaking in the Northern Ireland assembly, Mrs Dodds said two applications for petroleum licences would not now be decided until after the review had been completed.
She was responding to a motion which called for an immediate moratorium on petroleum licensing for all exploration, drilling and extraction of hydrocarbons, followed by legislation for a permanent ban.
Mrs Dodds said lawyers had advised her against supporting the motion. It was, she said, likely to be challenged.