Irish govt raises prospects for LNG imports
Ireland's department of the environment, climate and communications is reviewing the country's energy security in response to soaring gas and power prices and the risk of shortages this winter as Europe braces for a potential cut-off in Russian gas supply. It held a consultation on September 19, seeking views from interested parties on the mitigation options it is weighing up.
Those options include obtaining a floating LNG facility and developing gas storage capacity, both of which would only be put into operation when there is "a material risk of demand disruption," the department said on September 19. The government will also consider legislation covering gas storage, renewable gases including bio-methane and hydrogen, extra battery storage and gas and power demand response measures.
In addition, the government is mulling the development of a 700-MW power link to France, in addition to the existing Celtic interconnector, 360 MW of extra pumped storage hydroelectric capacity and increased secondary fuels storage, as well as the conversion of a combined-cycle gas turbine plant to run on hydrogen.
"As we transition to a net-zero emissions future, we must ensure that our pathway of decarbonisation is underpinned by both affordability and, critically, security in how we access and use energy at all times, including times when there might be demand risk or disruption," Ireland's minister for the environment, climate and communications, Eamon Ryan, commented. "It is essential that we have reliable sources of energy, including adequate gas and electricity storage, so that consumer and business confidence in our economy and in our energy infrastructure remains strong."
Natural gas still accounts for a third of Ireland's primary energy mix, with three-quarters of supply sourced from a single pipeline that runs from the UK. The rest is sourced at the Corrib gas field off the country's west coast, although production is in decline and is expected to cease entirely by around the end of the decade.
Ryan, a member of the Greens, one of the three parties that form Ireland's coalition government, has opposed the construction of LNG infrastructure in the past. But the government announced it would review its energy policy in April in light of the challenges to energy security.
There are two LNG projects currently under consideration in Ireland, but neither has made much progress recently because of the government's lack of support. UK-listed Predator Oil and gas wants to develop a floating terminal off the country's south coast, while New Fortress Energy has proposed the Shannon LNG onshore project, in Ireland's southeast.
Predator announced on September 20 that it would put forward its Mag Mell floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) project for the public consultation process, which will run until October 28.
"The public recognition that FSRU's are being considered as an option for Ireland's security of gas supply during the Energy Transition is a major breakthrough for the Company and its shareholders," Predator chairman Paul Griffiths said.