Offshore Exploration Industry body seeks meeting with Government as the European Union publish plan to cut gas demand

Statement by Irish Offshore Operators Association

20th July 2022

Today, the European Union will set out emergency plans to reduce gas demand within months, warning countries that without deep cuts now they could struggle for fuel during winter if Russia cuts off deliveries. We urge the Government and in particular Minister Eamon Ryan to meet with our industry so that we can make the best use of existing Irish infrastructure, and to ensure that our industry continues to play an important role in helping to improve Ireland’s energy security and national prosperity.  In the current energy security crisis, which is evidenced by the need for an EU wide plan on short term energy supply, it is incomprehensible that the Government would not speak to the industry which today is providing c. 30% of the gas the country needs to keep the lights on.

The Irish Offshore Operators’ Association represents companies licenced to operate and explore the coastal region of Ireland, have been providing energy to Ireland for over 40 years from the Kinsale and Corrib Gas fields. Without further indigenous gas discoveries, Ireland will be entirely reliant on more insecure and carbon intensive imported gas. Unless the gas comes through global LNG imports arriving through the UK, it will come from mainland Europe and further afield, and all of that gas will transit through the UK to the interconnectors at Moffatt in Scotland.

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.

We have submitted plans to the Government that demonstrate our industry can play a vital role in the short-, medium- and long-term energy security of Ireland.  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 (and many of these opportunities have a one in four or one in five chance of success) they could be tied back into the existing Corrib production system and would more than likely have similarly low emission intensities as Corrib Gas, which has 4 to 13 times less carbon intensity as imported gas. These prospects could offer an extremely attractive secure source of lower carbon Irish natural gas and displace the need for the foreign imports which we need to back-up the intermittent renewable energy sources of wind and solar in the energy transition.   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 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 coupled with upcoming European Union emergency supply plan which will be published later today, points to the vulnerability to interruptions of gas supply without an indigenous replacement in an increasingly precarious and uncertain energy landscape.


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