Shannon LNG Terminal

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This article is part of the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor and the Center for Media and Democracy.
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Shannon LNG Terminal is a proposed LNG terminal in Munster Province, Ireland.

Location

The map below shows the location of the project, near Tarbert and Ballylongford, in County Kerry, Munster Province.

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Project Details

  • Owner: Sambolo Resources
  • Location: Tarbert/Ballylongford, County Kerry, Munster Province, Ireland
  • Coordinates: 52.58099, -9.44246 (exact)
  • Capacity: 2 mtpa, 0.29 bcfd
  • Status: Proposed
  • Type: Import
  • Start Year: 2022[1]

Note: mtpa = million tonnes per year; bcfd = billion cubic feet per day

Background

Shannon LNG Terminal is a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal in Munster Province, Ireland. The original project was owned by the U.S. firm Hess. Permits were granted for the project in 2008-10.[2] The project includes construction of an LNG regasification terminal (and an associated 500 MW High Efficiency CHP plant), with a capacity of 17 MCM/d at commissioning and 28.3 MCM/d at full build on the southern shore of the Shannon Estuary (County Kerry). The terminal has approval for up to 4 tanks of 200,000 m3 each and a jetty capable of receiving LNG ships of up to 266,000m3 cargo capacity. Construction will also include a 26 km gas pipeline, the Shannon Gas Pipeline, to export up to 26.8 MCM/d to the national grid at Foynes (County Limerick,Ireland) with an initial deliverability of 16.1 MCM/d.[3]

After years of problems, Hess sold the project to Irish firm Sambolo Resources in November 2015. Part of the problem was reportedly that regulators wanted to force Hess to pay for part of the cost of a gas pipeline between Ireland and the UK, which Hess refused to do. Hess also cited "plunging global prices for LNG" as part of their decision to abandon the project, despite having already invested $72 million on it.[4][5][6]

However, in early 2017, following Brexit, the project was revived — as the post-Brexit trade regime may result in tariffs being applied to gas imports from the UK. As of April 2017, PwC was advising Sambolo Resources in their bid to find a new buyer for the project.[6] In May 2017, the Irish government backed the revived proposal.[7]

Since then, the required applications for the project have been refiled, since the original ones expired. The Government has put the terminal forward for inclusion on a special EU energy list known as the Project of Common Interest (PCI) list. Projects on the list can gain access to funding and go through a fast-track planning process due to the public interest significance.[8]

In October of 2018, an environmental group secured permission to bring a High Court challenge over the decision to extend planning permission to develop the Shannon Terminal. Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) wanted orders quashing a five year extension of permission for development of the terminal, which includes four large tanks, jetties to receive ships, and associated works at Kilcolgan, near Tarbert in north Kerry. Permission for the facility, where gas will be shipped for use by consumers in Ireland and Europe, was granted in 2008. The facility has not yet been constructed and the developer, Shannon LNG Ltd, got an extension of the planning permission on July 13th last. In its proceeding, FIE claims the board failed to take account of the possibility of significant effects of the proposed development on local wildlife and flora. It also claims the board failed to take into account the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015, intended to drive Ireland’s transition to a low carbon state in line with its commitments under the Paris Agreement. FIE wants orders quashing the extension decision and a declaration the board failed to exclude the possibility the development would have significant effects on bottlenosed dolphins in the Lower River Shannon Special Area of Conservation. FIE claims the board erred in law by allegedly failing to take account of up to date and relevant information available to it in the course of its screening for appropriate assessment under the EU Habitats Directive.[9] In February 2019 the High Court ordered the developers of the project not to proceed with construction and referred the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ).[10]

By November of 2019, the terminal had garnered international attention with American celebrities speaking out in opposition.[11] Pope Francis also came out in support of activists opposing the terminal.[12] It's also been a focus of the climate activist group, Extinction Rebellion. The controversy is in part due to the planned use of fracked gas, which is among the dirtiest natural gas sources. If the project goes through, the fracked gas will be imported from America, despite Ireland having banning fracking within its own borders.[13]

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