to the entire New Fortress Energy proposed Shannon LNG US fracked gas
import terminal in
Release September 15th 2023:
LNG is REFUSED
planning permission to build its US fracked gas import
terminal in Ireland due to Irish ban on fracked gas imports
- Claims that the flow of over €27 million by
Shannon LNG into Irish state-controlled bodies during its planning
process put huge and inappropriate pressure on Irish planning
- Calls for the return of the site to public ownership after it was
revealed that Shannon LNG controversially purchased the lands from the
state-owned Shannon Group for €25 million during the planning process
at a time when it was against government policy to permit any LNG
terminals to be proceeded with.
In a campaign that has gone on for 16 years, New Fortress Energy's
the imporation of US fracked gas into Ireland is, for now, dead in the
As in 2020
when the High Court of Ireland quashed all existing development
consent, campaigners are once again reacting with sheer delight today
at the news
that the irish planning authorites have refused
development consent to the Shannon LNG US fracked gas import
terminal in Ireland, proposed by US giant New Fortress Energy because
it runs contrary to the country's official government policy against the importation of fracked gas via
Shannon LNG paid over €27 million to Irish state bodies after it had
started the planning process (which ultimately ended in rejection) for road-widening
works and for the purchase of the state-owned Shannon LNG landbank
site. Huge question marks hang over how the 603-acre site could have
been sold to Shannon LNG by the state-controlled Shannon Group after it
had lodged its planning application and at a time when it was against
government policy for any LNG terminals to be proceeded with. We feel
that the flow of millions of euros by Shannon LNG into Irish state
bodies during its planning process put huge and inappropriate pressure
on the planning authorities. We now want those lands returned to public
ownership for the benefit of the community and the nation.
The Irish Government has displayed climate leadership at a global level
by stopping the Shannon LNG fracked gas import project, and
demonstrated a willingness to tackle the world’s
largest single super
emitter of methane and one of the worst contributors to climate
The decision conforms with the “do
no harm” principle as set out in the EU Green Deal of December 11th, 2019. It has also
demonstrated solidarity and empathy with communities in
Pennsylvania, Texas, Northern Ireland and elsewhere affected by, or
threatened with, the scourge of fracking. The scientific evidence
of serious health and environmental harm from fracking already
irrefutably exists and no acceptable mitigation of fracking has been
implemented anywhere in the world. On May 18th, 2021 Ireland became the
first country in the world to publish
a policy statment against fracked gas imports, having
already implemented a legislative ban on fracking in 2017. The global
trade in LNG is being fueled by the boom in climate-destructive
fracking and both are inextricably linked.
All this happened in the backdrop of a recent Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change Report which clearly stated that “the continued installation of unabated
fossil fuel infrastructure will ‘lock-in’ GHG emissions”.
statement against fracked gas imports
The policy statement declares that "Ireland imports much of its natural gas
via the two interconnector
pipelines from Moffat in Scotland, which provide the majority of
natural gas currently used in Ireland. Given the level of fracked gas
in the imports from Scotland is considered very low, the highest risk
of fracked gas being imported into Ireland on a large-scale would be
via liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, if any were to be constructed".
The policy statement concludes that “pending
the outcome of the review of the security of energy supply of Ireland’s
electricity and natural gas systems, it would not be appropriate for
the development of any LNG terminals in Ireland to be permitted or
An Bord Pleanála noted in its decision that "The
Review of The Security of Ireland's Electricity and Natural Gas Systems
(Department of the Envrionment, Climate and Communications Sept 2022)
has been subject to public consultation and the initial technical
analysis does not support the development of a commercially operated
Floating LNG FSRU. The review has not yet been completed". When
the shortlist of options was published in September 2022 excluding
Shannon LNG, this was interpreted by campaigners as death
by a thousand ccuts for the Shannon LNG proposal.
The highest planning authority in Ireland - An Bord Pleanála - ruled
unanimously against the LNG terminal and with a majority of 8 to 2
against a 600 MW power station on the site. The main reason it refused
to grant permission for the construction of a stand-alone power station
at the site was because it would not "be
consistent" with the objective
of the site under the Strategic Integrated Framework Plan for the
Shannon Estuary which seeks "to
promote the sustainable development of these lands for marine related
industry utilising the presence of deep water and the waterside
location to harness the potential of this Strategic location". A
stand-alone power station, the Board stated, would also require "the consideration of alternatives",which was obviously not done in
this case, because a
stand-alone power station was never proposed by the developer.
consensus against fracked gas imports
There is a national consensus position against Fracked gas imports to
Ireland as evidenced in the thousands of political and civil society
actions outlined in Annex III of the Legal
Opinion supporting a pragmatic fracking import ban in the Climate
bill prepared by the Irish Centre for Human Rights in November 2020. It
is clear that the decision to reject the Shannon LNG application will
be very warmly received on a national and international stage.
3rd 2019, the Majority of Ireland's MEPs had told the European
Commission not to allow fracked gas into Ireland via the Projects of
Common Interest list.
In April 2020, almost half of the newly elected parliamentarians signed
against US fracked gas import terminals in Ireland.
In May 2021 postgraduate law students at the NUIG Irish Centre for
Human Rights published
a research report finding that fracking is incompatible with states’
human rights law obligations under numerous treaties. Based on their
research they found that the dangers posed by fracking cannot be
mitigated through regulation.
In October 2021, 76 Irish politiicans joined over 1,500 people lodging
Shannon LNG at An Bord Pleanála.
In August 2022, hundreds of people attended a Climate
Camp set up in Tarbert in opposition to the Shannon LNG project.
And In April 2023, 150
groups from a cross section of Irish and International society
signed an open letter calling for no LNG u-turn on the agreed
government policy against LNG and the importation of fracked gas into
Issue for the
Irish Regulator On July 9th, 2023, planning permission for a
500MW power station on the site expired.
The refusal by An Bord Pleanála to now give development consent to a
stand-alone replacement 600 MW power station on the site brings the
behaviour of the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU)
regarding the Single Electricity Market capacity auction into
On April 5th, 2023, the State’s national grid operator EirGrid published the provisional results of the latest
capacity auction for the Single Electricity Market which indicated that
Shannon LNG had won a provisional agreement for two gas-fired
generators capable of generating 353 megawatts (MW) of electricity in
total from EirGrid.
However, on June 8th, 2023, Mr. John Melvin, Director of Security of
Supply and Wholesal Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU),
explained the logic behind this provisional agreement with Shannon LNG
when he confirmed very controversially that “The CRU had further engagement with the
project developer in order to provide additional insight into the
project and the deliverability of same. The CRU received confirmation
from the project developer that the generation project was not
contingent on the delivery of any LNG import facility, and that the
generation projects would proceed to be developed, should they be
successful in the auction, in the absence of any future development of
an LNG import facility. The project developer also addressed concerns
relating to the processes associated gas pipeline. The Shannon LNG
generation project was qualified to participate in the March T-4
auction, and was successful in that auction”.
We question how the regulator could accept assurances from the
developer that it would build a stand alone power station should they
be successful in the auction, when the company had not even applied for
such a development.
And secondly, it was not for the CRU to accept any
"concerns relating to the processes
associated gas pipeline" from the
project developer alone, if that is indeed the case. The question of
the Shannon LNG pipeline expiry has now been referred
to An Bord Pleanála after it was discovered that Shannon LNG had only
applied for a 10-year development consent for the pipeline in 2008.
This would seem to indicate that permission for the pipeline would have
expired on February 17th, 2019.
paid by Shannon LNG after it had initiated the Shannon LNG
development consent process
On March 20th, 2019, Shannon LNG lodged a new application at An Bord
Pleanála seeking Strategic infrastructure status in order to be
able to apply directly to An Bord Pleanála instead of applying via the
County Council in the first instance for a Floating Storage
Regasification Unit (FSRU, an offshore LNG terminal) and a new Power
Plant, the company
After this date, and before it was refused planning permission, the
company paid over €2.4 million to Kerry County Council for
road-widening works from Tarbert to the proposed site, which the
Council said are non refundable.
Then, the entire 603-acre site of the proposed LNG terminal strategic
public land in North Kerry (under the control of Shannon Group State
Body) were sold to Wes Edens’ Shannon LNG for €25 million in late 2021. This means a total of
over €27.4 million were paid by Shannon LNG to state bodies after it
had initiated the planning process for an LNG terminal that would
ultimately be rejected by An Bord Pleanála.
We believe that this flow of money by Shannon LNG to Irish state bodies
put undue pressure on the Irish planning authorities as it deliberated
on the planning application.
We now want this land back for the benefit of the local community and
Safety Before LNG