Sector can play an important role decarbonising our society while ensuring Ireland’s energy security and national prosperity

The Irish Offshore Operators’ Association (IOOA) will today, Monday 10th May 2021, present a proposal to Government as part of the consultation process on the Climate Action Plan 2021.  The plan presents two distinct but interlinked outline technical proposals to support the objectives in the Climate Action Plan: The Cork Net Zero Emissions Hub and the Corrib Critical Infrastructure Hub.

The two strategic proposals contained in the submission build upon, and utilise, critical national infrastructure in order to play a major role in lowering emissions and decarbonising our society while ensuring Ireland’s energy security and national prosperity.  The Cork Net Zero Emissions Hub envisages the use of technologically proven carbon capture, utilisation and sequestration (CCUS) technology, combined with offshore wind energy and hydrogen production, to achieve a net zero emissions sustainable regional economy. Using the reservoir at Kinsale combined with the undeveloped Barryroe oil and gas field lies the potential to make a significant contribution to Ireland’s and Cork’s continuing requirements for petroleum during the transition towards low and zero carbon emissions. The Corrib Critical Infrastructure Hub recognises that there are a number of unexplored gas prospects in the licenced blocks in the vicinity of the Corrib gas field. If gas accumulations are confirmed they could likely be linked to the Corrib production system and would likely have similarly low emission intensities. This makes them extremely attractive as a secure source of clean natural gas to supplement or replace the Corrib field, thereby displacing the foreign imports that will be necessary to backup the intermittent renewable energy sources of wind and solar in the energy transition.

Commenting on the submission Mr Alan Linn, Chairperson of IOOA  said “Our industry vision for Ireland’s decarbonisation transition is for a clear, realistic, costed and fully integrated plan, based on international experience and supported by robust evidence. Cognisant of the many challenges that will face Ireland on the transition journey, our views are grounded in practical and pragmatic realism. Without further indigenous gas discoveries, Ireland will be entirely reliant on imported gas. Unless this comes through LNG imports, it will come from mainland Europe and further afield, and will transit through the UK to the interconnectors at Moffatt in Scotland. By this time, the UK will itself be importing 75% of its gas needs while the EU will be importing approximately one third of its gas needs from LNG imports. This points to the vulnerability to interruptions of gas supply without an indigenous replacement for the Corrib gas field that is now in decline.

In Ireland, our industry is involved in several major recently announced offshore wind energy projects. For example, Equinor, one of our member companies, recently announced a joint venture project with the ESB. The recently announced Moneypoint Offshore Wind Project plans to build Ireland’s first floating wind development west of the Shannon estuary. Equinor already has significant experience in offshore wind development, including in the North Sea where it has pioneered the world’s first floating wind farm and is developing the world’s largest offshore wind farm, due to start up in 2023”.

Concluding Mr Linn said “We believe that Ireland has the capacity to maintain a level of energy sovereignty by using its own resources.  Ireland can reduce our imports and our emissions while increasing investment and jobs. This will only be achieved if politicians are willing to be honest about Ireland’s energy security limitations and are prepared to realise the full potential of Ireland’s offshore resources”.

To view the report, please click here.





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