Last Friday, the European Council accepted an offer from the US for deliveries of natural gas to reduce our dependence on Russian gas and to help address energy costs. Because natural gas is a key element of electricity generation in Ireland, it has to the potential to reduce costs here.
But as we have no way of storing the gas, we cannot utilise this agreement, even though we have two potential facilities off the Cork coast — the decommissioned Kinsale and Seven Heads gas fields.
As this is because Ireland failed to plan for such an eventuality, even though I sought to put such a plan in place.
This is what I said to the Minister for Finance last Thursday:
Tomorrow the European Council will discuss the possibility of block-purchasing natural gas, which has the potential to reduce our electricity costs. However, we have no way of storing the gas, even though we have two potential facilities off the Cork coast — the decommissioned Kinsale and Seven Heads gas fields. When I was Minister, I asked my Department to assess the potential of these wells for carbon capture and storage and their potential for the storage of natural gas. In December 2020, in advance of the Dáil deciding on the decommissioning of the Kinsale wells, I sought a copy of this assessment. Sadly, this vital information was not made available to the Dáil, but we were promised that the assessment would be completed by the end of last year. I have now been informed that it will be early 2023 before this assessment will be published, nearly six years after the process commenced. This is far too late for Ireland to capitalise on any natural gas price discount from the European Union.
This was subsequently picked up by the Irish Sun
Watch the full discussion and the response to the Minister for Finance to 4 practical proposals that I put to him on addressing Ireland’s rising electricity costs: