Press Release March 10th, 2009 - Massive SemEuro
Petroleum Storage Facility in Tarbert put on hold
the company planning the country’s largest petroleum storage facility
adjacent to the Shannon LNG terminal in Tarbert, has dramatically
withdrawn its application at An Bord Pleanála following a sustained
campaign against the project by the ‘Safety Before LNG’ group.
application for consideration as a strategic infrastructure under the
new fast-track Strategic Infrastructure Act 2006, which would have
allowed it bypass local planning authorities, was first submitted to An
Bord Pleanála on March 20th 2007 and finally withdrawn one
year and eight months later on December 12th 2008. 
this time all information on the proposal was withheld from public
scrutiny but it was feared by local residents that it would follow the
same model as the largest independent oil storage facility in the UK
run by the same group (SemLogistics) adjacent to the Milford Haven LNG
Details have now emerged of the scale of the project which confirm
local residents’ worst fears:
proposed development was for approximately 30 atmospheric storage tanks
for the storage and distribution of Class I, II and III petroleum
products (gasoline, kerosene, gas oil and diesel).
The site would have had a total capacity of one million cubic metres
(or 220 million gallons) with a throughput of 3
to 5 million tonnes annually.
It was to be constructed on Shannon Development land
on the Ballylongford side (West) of the proposed Shannon LNG terminal
between Kilcolgan Strand Road and the breathtakingly scenic Saleen Pier.
development envisaged would have been a sea-in, sea-out storage
facility terminal with the future inland distribution of oil by barge
or road being a possible consideration at a later stage.
addition to being used for importing and exporting shipments of
petroleum products, it was intended that the National Oil Reserves
Agency (NORA) would be an anchor tenant for over 100,000 tonnes of the
site’s capacity which was being allocated for the strategic storage of
petroleum products. This would allow it qualify as fast-track strategic
infrastructure under the 7th schedule of the Strategic
Infrastructure Act 2006 - namely “an installation for the surface
storage of oil or coal, where the storage capacity would exceed 100,000
Shannon Foynes Port Company, according to the
applicant, seemed “to be comfortable with the proposed location of the
jetty” adjacent to the LNG terminal.
Consultation had also taken place with Kerry County Council and the
Health and Safety Authority, SemEuro stated.
SemEuro confirmed to An Bord Pleanála on November 17th 2008,
that it “had not been able to reach an agreement with Shannon
Development and so is not pursuing this option at present”.
Before LNG’ group spokesman, Johnny McElligott, lambasted Shannon
Development for its attempts to attract two enormous dirty and
dangerous gas and oil terminals to the 600-acre Tarbert Landbank
without any strategic environmental assessments being undertaken in
such an environmentally-sensitive area.
and Kerry County Council are only concerned about money and pay only
lip service to environmental, safety and sustainable development
They have no concern for exclusion zones which will sterilise
development and movement on the land and on the estuary.
is crazy to even contemplate an energy storage hub on the southern
shores of the Shannon Estuary at the scale envisaged without any
forward or strategic planning. It is yet another example of
mismanagement of the country’s richest assets.
The entire facility would be in full view of Lislaughtin Abbey and
and gas are a lethal mix and both the developers and Shannon
Development have shown a complete disregard for the health and safety
of the local residents in particular and for the North Kerry region and
Shannon Estuary in general.
The group also criticised comments
made by North Kerry T.D. Jimmy Deenihan for promoting the LNG Terminal
project at Tarbert as an environmentally-friendly “green energy”
project. The TD, according to the Kerryman newspaper of February 25th
2009 has called “for a green energy park to be created in the area“,
saying “that Kerry could now become leaders in clean fuel”. Can someone
please explain to Deputy Deenihan that LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS is a
The group also believes that the presence of 90
acres of trees on the site will first have to be dealt with before the
SemEuro project can go ahead. However, the LNG terminal oral hearing
was told by Shannon LNG that trees would offer protection in the case
of a heat blast wave in the case of an LNG accident. We now believe
that these trees form a safety mechanism as proposed by Shannon LNG
that will have to be addressed by Shannon Development and SemEuro
before the Petroleum storage project can proceed.
Before LNG’ group also encouraged other local community groups that
defeating the mighty SemEuro proved that individuals can still make
their voice heard if they engage in the planning process at the
earliest possible stages. Sometimes, though, the worst of ideas can
slip under the radar until it is too late.
Notes to Editor:
Please find attached official Bord Pleanála maps and documents on the
SemEuro application (the file is large at 7 Megabytes and may
take some time to
download; alternatively, click here to download a pdf version of the SemEuro application )