November 20, 2023 [Business Post]- The developer behind the controversial Shannon LNG project has written to climate minister Eamon Ryan and offered the company’s site in north Kerry as a potential location for the state-owned floating gas storage facility the government plans to build.
Andrew Dete, managing director of New Fortress Energy, the US company behind the Shannon LNG project, wrote to Ryan suggesting his company could build a new state-of-the-art LNG terminal within 26 weeks at no cost to the taxpayer and that the facility could be operational by next year.
New Fortress Energy wrote to the Minister for Climate almost immediately after the government published its Energy Security in Ireland to 2030 report, which sets out 28 recommendations to ensure the country has enough power over the coming decade. The stand-out recommendation is for the state to invest in a floating reserve of gas storage, a floating LNG terminal with gas storage capacity known as an FSRU.
“An opportunity now exists to deliver the strategic gas emergency reserve at the New Fortress Energy site in the near-term: a project which will be 100 per cent paid for by New Fortress Energy as a world leader in developing LNG terminals and as an operator of one of the largest fleets of LNG ships in the world,” Dete wrote in his letter to Ryan, which has been seem by the Business Post.
Dete said his company was prepared to work closely with Irish regulatory authorities to deliver the Shannon LNG terminal and the gas storage capacity required by the state.
“The [Energy Security] Report is highly supportive to New Fortress Energy’s proposed infrastructure project in north Kerry. The report confirms the need for a strategic gas emergency reserve and confirms an FSRU vessel as the most suitable approach,” the US executive wrote.
“New Fortress Energy’s proposed project in north Kerry includes (i) an FSRU terminal providing gas storage and LNG import capability into the Irish gas grid and (ii) a new, highly efficient 600 megawatt (MW) power plant specifically configured to support the resilience of the electricity grid to enable further development of renewable energy generation in Ireland.”
Dete said his company could also increase storage capacity at the Shannon estuary site through “further floating storage vessels as needed” by the state, while the company would also follow any gas specifications set out by the Irish energy regulator, including restrictions on importing fracked gas.
The letter comes after An Bord Pleanála turned down New Fortress Energy’s application to build a €650 million LNG terminal and gas plant near Ballylongford in Co Kerry.
The planning authority said the decision was based on government policy on the importation of fracked gas and that it would not be appropriate to give permission for any LNG terminal in Ireland pending the review of energy supply.
Now that the energy security report has been published and included findings that Ireland does need gas storage infrastructure, New Fortress Energy may seek to progress a court challenge against An Bord Pleanála’s decision to turn down the Shannon LNG project.
The company recently filed a High Court application seeking to commence judicial review proceedings against the ruling.
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