Ireland has not joined other European countries in seeking supplies from temporary floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals as part of an effort to diversify fuel supply in the context of the current energy crisis.
The Ministry of the Environment has confirmed that the State has not attempted to secure floating LNG storage and regasification units (FSRUs) similar to those ordered by Germany, the Netherlands and other countries. of the EU.
The Green Party is very concerned about LNG because of the environmentally damaging fracking process used for its extraction by some producers. Others in government, particularly in Fine Gael, have argued that this should remain an option.
The Coalition adopted a policy statement against the import of fractured gas in May last year, although it stopped short of a legal ban. This policy is in place pending the results of a review of Ireland’s energy supply security, which is due to be published next week ahead of a public comment period.
In recent days, the Financial Times reported that there were up to 19 new FSRU projects across Europe as countries sought alternatives to gas supplies from Russia.
Ireland gets most of its gas via interconnectors with the UK and from the Corrib gas field off the coast of Co Mayo and is much less dependent on Russian gas than its European neighbours. However, some believe the FSRUs could provide an insurance policy in the event of a supply disruption from the UK, given that the Corrib field is running out.
The department confirmed that Ireland had not sought to source FSRUs to date. A spokesperson said that under the fracking gas policy, “it would not be appropriate for the development of LNG terminals in Ireland to be permitted or pursued” before the outcome of the energy security review.
The review examines the main risks to the security of electricity and gas supply as well as options to mitigate them. These include “the need for additional capacity to import energy, including LNG, energy storage, fuel diversification and renewable gases such as hydrogen”.
The Irish Times asked a spokeswoman for Environment Minister and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan if he would allow the use of LNG or FSRUs if recommended by the review. She said the energy balance sheet will be released next week and “it’s best to wait until then for more details on the document in the cycle and what options it may contain.”
She said Mr Ryan had previously said state-owned storage capacity should be available to the Irish in the event of a supply disruption without breaching Ireland’s climate action plans.