21 September 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Irving Oil and Simply Blue Group announce plans to explore renewable energy hub in Ireland
International energy company Irving Oil and Simply Blue Group, an Irish blue economy developer in floating offshore wind and renewable fuels, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a commitment to explore opportunities related to the potential development of an integrated renewable energy hub at the Irving Oil Whitegate Refinery.
This agreement will see the companies jointly exploring a series of opportunities that would contribute to the development of such a renewable energy hub at the Whitegate refinery – Ireland’s only refinery and a critical part of the country’s energy infrastructure – including the production of green hydrogen and its use in the production of electrofuels for local and international markets. Electrofuels, known as e-fuels, are carbon neutral sustainable fuels produced with renewable electricity and carbon or nitrogen extracted from the air.
Irving Oil and Simply Blue Group will also be assessing ways to integrate the significant planned offshore wind developments around Ireland into this renewable energy hub, including Simply Blue Group’s planned Emerald Floating Wind project, to be located approximately 50 km south of Cork, Ireland.
Together, the companies are committed to innovation and collaboration, seeking to develop sustainable and transformative projects that will provide energy security to customers and communities into the future.
With a focus on leadership through the energy transition, Irving Oil has committed to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across its operations and to the development of more sustainable energy solutions. The company has set targets to achieve a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, as well as actively working towards a net-zero objective by 2050.
This important partnership with Simply Blue Group could yield important new opportunities to reduce emissions in the ongoing operations of the Whitegate refinery and enable the production of a new generation of ultra-low carbon energy products – specifically e-fuels – aligned with evolving customer demands and energy policy within the European Union.
“At Irving Oil, we are committed to leadership through the energy transition and engaging in strong partnerships is a key part of our strategy as we all work toward a lower carbon future,” says Irving Oil President Ian Whitcomb. “The work we are starting with Simply Blue Group is another example of our energy transition strategy coming to life. Bringing together a key piece of energy infrastructure in Ireland – the Whitegate refinery – with Simply Blue Group’s global leadership in offshore wind development can create compelling new opportunities in Ireland.”
Sam Roch Perks, Simply Blue Groups’, Group Chief Executive Officer said: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Simply Blue Group, and we are excited to be working with Irving Oil as we jointly investigate the potential development of an integrated renewable energy hub at the Irving Oil Whitegate Refinery. This is a potential game changer for Ireland. It presents the opportunity to become a pioneer and leader in e-Fuels, a new industry sector that will prove vital in the fight against climate change.”
He continued: “The recent announcement of 2GW of green hydrogen from offshore wind by Minister Ryan strengthens our confidence in Ireland’s intention to enable this sector. Integrating large scale floating offshore wind farms – another huge opportunity for Ireland – with large onshore e-Fuel production facilities also offers many advantages in efficiently addressing challenges associated with intermittency, energy storage and system balancing.”
About Irving Oil
“Irving Oil is a family-owned and privately held international energy company. For nearly 100 years, our commitment to doing good business has been grounded in our commitment to people – to our employees, customers, communities, and partners. Founded in 1924, our mission is focused on our continued evolution to meet the changing needs of our customers. Specializing in the refining and marketing of finished energy products, we operate Canada’s largest refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, and Ireland’s only refinery, located in the village of Whitegate. We proudly serve customers with more than 1,000 fuelling locations and a network of distribution terminals spanning Eastern Canada, New England and in Ireland, operating under the Top brand. We are on a continuous journey of sustainable development, working to reduce our environmental footprint while continuing to provide safe and reliable energy to our customers. Named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for six consecutive years, we are proud of our team and our longstanding commitment to our customers and our communities.”
About Simply Blue Group
“Simply Blue Group, headquartered in Cork, Ireland, is a leading blue economy developer focused on replacing fossil fuels with clean ocean energy. It develops pioneering blue economy projects – floating offshore wind, e-Fuels, wave energy and low-impact aquaculture – all in harmony with the oceans. The company has a pipeline of over 10GW of floating offshore wind projects across the globe.”
Simply Blue Group is committed to creating new economic opportunities for coastal communities, and developing projects that co-exist with sustainable fisheries and marine conservation.