Safety Before LNG
Exposing the truth about the New Fortress Energy 'Shannon LNG' project
Negative Effects on the Shannon Estuary
Nevada LNG Explosion

Press Releases
to the entire New Fortress Energy proposed Shannon LNG US fracked gas import terminal in
For Immediate Release
Press Release September 15th 2023:

Delight as Shannon 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 authorites
- 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 plans for the imporation of US fracked gas into Ireland is, for now, dead in the water.

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 LNG terminalls.

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 change. 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”.

The policy 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 proceeded with”.

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.

National 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.

On October 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.

On November 15th, 2019, at the Youth Assembly on Climate Change held in Dáil Éireann, Roisín Keegan-O'Rourke informed the House that the Youth Assembly was proposing: "for Ireland to ban the importation of fracked gas and invest solely in renewables".

On February 12th, 2020 the majority of Irish MEPs voted against the 4th PCI list which included the proposed Shannon LNG fracked gas import project.

In April 2020 over 150 NGOS and academics supported a proposed LNG energy policy statement wording to be included in the Programme for Government.

Sligo County Council and Donegal County Council have explicit policies against fracking in their County Development Plans. Councils across the country have passed strong motions against fracking and fracked gas imports, including Leitrim County Council, Cork City Council, Cork County Council, South Dublin County Council Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

In April 2020, almost half of the newly elected parliamentarians signed a pledge 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 submissions against 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 Ireland.

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 question.

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.

€27 million 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 the nation.

John McElligott
Safety Before LNG