26 October 2022
By Tom Collins
Department of Environment urged to fully engage with all stakeholders offering solutions to support Ireland’s future security of energy supply
The Department of Environment must defer the decommissioning of the Kinsale Gas Pipeline following its endorsement of liquified natural gas (LNG) and floating storage regasification units (FSRUs). That’s according to Mag Mell Energy Ireland’s consultation response to the Review of the Security of Energy Supply of Ireland’s Electricity and Natural Gas Systems published today (26.10.22).
In responding to the call from the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) for views on policy measures to support Ireland’s security of supply framework, Mag Mell highlighted:
The importance of securing independent LNG sources for Ireland’s energy security.
How FSRUs and the existing Kinsale Head Gas Field Pipeline infrastructure can be quickly utilised for the offshore importation of non-fracked LNG.
In April 2020, Mag Mell tabled a proposal with Minister Eamon Ryan and the DECC to repurpose existing infrastructure at the Kinsale Head Gas Field for the offshore importation of non-fracked LNG. This proposal has the capacity to supply 43% of Ireland’s severe peak day gas demand, directly replacing gas from the depleting Corrib Gas Field.
The proposal includes the procurement of two FSRU vessels which can moor to the subsea end of the Kinsale Gas Pipeline 50km beyond the horizon. Imported LNG can be brought back to its gas state onboard the FSRUs at the mooring point and transferred through the subsea pipeline to the associated national grid connection point at the existing Inch Onshore Terminal. With no additional onshore infrastructure required, the proposal has less environmental and cost impact than other proposed land-based energy infrastructure such as the Shannon LNG terminal.
Commenting, CEO of Mag Mell Energy Ireland, Paul Griffiths said: “It was very encouraging to see the Department’s energy review endorse the use of LNG and FSRUs as a solution to strengthen Ireland’s future energy security. However, it must be understood that market dynamics rule out a wholly State-owned FSRU facility as proposed in the review. We therefore strongly urge the Department to consider the Mag Mell proposal as a viable alternative option for rapid implementation to bolster security of gas supply.
“Ireland is increasing its reliance each year on a single source of natural gas as the Corrib gas field winds down, posing real risk to our energy security should the UK reduce or stop supply through the Irish Sea interconnector. Sole reliance on UK supply would inevitably leave Ireland more exposed to a shortage of gas supplies compared to our European peers. It’s imperative that Ireland now prioritises a focus on diversification of its energy supply in line with the decline in production at the indigenous Corrib gas field.
“This will be key to ensuring there is secure energy backup to support the overall objective of transitioning to a fully renewable grid. LNG offers a clear long-term energy security and diversity option, mitigating short and long peak demand shocks and meeting seasonal needs. It is an option which is endorsed by both the European Union, individual member states and now Ireland through the Review of the Security of Energy Supply,” Mr Griffiths added.
Mag Mell will launch its consultation response as part of a presentation to Oireachtas members at Leinster House today. During the session Mr Griffiths will outline how the Mag Mell proposal is designed to provide an energy security bridge while Ireland transitions to a fully green grid differentiating it from long-term new fixed fossil fuel infrastructure.
Mr Griffiths continued: “The Kinsale Gas Pipeline provides Ireland with a readymade solution which can be quickly deployed to directly import LNG in a safe, efficient, and cost-effective manner. The use of LNG and FSRUs to strengthen our security of energy is now fully endorsed by the DECC’s review on security of energy supply. The Mag Mell project offers an innovative approach to repurposing existing infrastructure, providing Ireland with an LNG supply and storage solution that can be in place quicker than any other proposal.
“However, there is an urgent need for the Department and Minister Ryan to take a more collaborative approach beyond consultations to engagement on mounting challenge of energy security. All energy stakeholders who can support Ireland’s journey to a secure, sustainable, and affordable transition to renewable energy, including the LNG industry must be brought into the discussion. It is incredibly frustrating that there has been no engagement from Department officials or the Minister on the Mag Mell proposal since it was initially presented to them over two years ago.
Mr Griffiths concluded: “We are prepared to work with the DECC on a collaborative basis to secure an outcome that supports future Ireland’s energy security while transitioning to a fully green grid. However, failure to engage by the Department proactively and constructively will be seen by us and many others as a direct invitation to go down a legal route. This would be hugely embarrassing and damaging for the DECC and, its Minister who continues to make statements about LNG and the Mag Mell project that are not factually correct.”