Irish government moves to block imports of fracked gas

Shannon LNG

Artists impression of the proposed Shannon LNG terminal. Image: Shannon LNG

The Irish government has announced it is withdrawing support for a gas import terminal at Shannon on the south west coast.

A draft programme for government, released today, said ministers opposed the import of fracked gas. It added that the Shannon terminal would be removed from a key list giving access to EU funding.

The 139-page document was drawn up after talks between Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party over the weekend.

It said:

“As Ireland moves towards carbon neutrality, we do not believe that it makes sense to develop LNG [Liquified Natural Gas] gas import terminals importing fracked gas, accordingly we shall withdraw the Shannon LNG terminal from the EU Projects of Common Interest list in 2021.

“We do not support the importation of fracked gas and shall develop a policy statement to establish that approach.”

Ireland has banned fracking but last year the government approved the Shannon LNG terminal as an EU project of common interest. This meant it would have access to a streamlined planning and permitting process, as well as a multi-billion euro funding pot.

The terminal, at Ballylongford, County Kerry, proposed to import gas from the US and Middle East. Supporters said the project was needed for Irish energy security.

It would have a gas send-out capacity of up to 28.3 million standard cubic metres per day. There were plans for four storage tanks, each with a capacity of 200,000 cubic metres, and a jetty capable of receiving the largest LNG tankers.

Critics, including opposition parties, local groups and celebrities, Mark Ruffalo and Cher, argued that most of the US gas would be extracted by fracking.

They described the terminal as “Ireland’s biggest and most urgent environmental threat” and feared the country would be locked into decades of fracked shale gas. The terminal would, they said, threaten local communities, industries and wildlife in the Shannon Estuary.

Andy Gheorghiu, anti-fracking policy advisor and campaigner for Food & Water Action Europe, said today:

“After the co-initiation of this campaign and constant support for the cause, I’m more than happy with this major step forward.

“With an import ban of climate hostile and environmentally destructive fracked gas, the Irish Government shows true global climate leadership by creating a decisive legal precedent that could truly shake up markets and pave the way for the much-needed clean energy transition.”

The draft programme for government was agreed between the leadership of the three parties today. The parliamentary parties are due to be briefed this afternoon. The programme will then go to their memberships for a final decision.


13 replies »

  1. This looks nothing more than a virtual signalling exercise on the part of the Irish government.

    How do they propose to stop fracked gas reaching Ireland via the Moffat Interconnector from the South Hook, Dragon or Grain terminals or from the four LNG terminals in France once the proposed €350 million Celtic Interconnector is completed?

    • [Edited by moderator] The Irish people show more a more enlightened standpoint than fossil fools.

      • Wonder how many of Irish decent are working within the oil and gas sector in USA?

        Perhaps the fools migrated and the enlightened ones did not?

  2. Maybe they fancy the idea of following our lead, by paying out £162.47/MWh and £173.96/MWh to the UK’s two largest offshore wind farms for the electricity they are producing, while the wholesale market price is around £20/MWh?

    • Yes John, I have never understood the claim that renewables, especially offshore wind with huge guaranteed CFD payments, is cheaper than gas / nuclear. How can the wholesale market price be £20/MWh – this can only be because existing gas and nuclear, and gas feedstock are so cheap. Don’t forget the £20/MWhr includes the incredibly expensive wind generated electricity so it would be even lower cost without it.

  3. Strange that Halite are continuing with their plans to create a massive underground gas storage facility off Fleetwood when fracking the Fylde has proven to be a dead duck.

    Looking like they are still expecting England to import lots of cheap fracked gas from the USA?

    • Peter
      Gas storage business case relies on buy cheap, sell for more at times peak demand. I think that the source of the gas is immaterial to the project, as long as they can buy cheap on the uk spot market.

    • Peter, there are similar gas storage caverns that were created in the salt deposits at Aldbrough and Atwick in East Yorkshire. They are usually filled with gas from Norway that comes ashore at the nearby Dimlington terminal during the summer month when prices are low, the gas is then sold during the winter when prices are higher. Perhaps this time next year they will be able to fill them with unfracked gas from West Newton which is only a couple of miles away.

    • We have one of the smallest volume gas storage capacities in Europe Peter. The capacity needs to be significantly increased for energy security and price protection.

  4. The more storage for gas then the less likelihood of some really tuned in anti pontificating about cheap gas around the world just before a Beast from the East shows that when you have a supply shortage due to a rapid increase in demand, then price goes through the roof. High pressure/cold weather=pretty poor wind generation.

  5. The Irish can import their gas (fracked or not) via their own new LNG terminal or via a UK mainland LNG terminal at a higher price – their decision. If they use gas in the quantities they currently use it then they have to continue to import it. Their own production briefly satisfied around 50% of their demand but that is now dropping rapidly.

    Much more interesting than this Irish “virtue signalling” is this article in the Guardian today:


    This contrasts with BP’s latest forecast however BP do need an excuse to make 10,000 staff redundant…..

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