Tuesday, 20 November 2018
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
534. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if a company (details supplied) has made an application for a licence to import fracked gas to a terminal in the west of Ireland; if so, the thresholds of the licence; if there is a policy of not using fracked gas for energy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47835/18]
549. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his views on the importation of fracked shale gas; if such importation accedes with the national policy on fracking; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48386/18]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 534 and 549 together.
The 2015 Energy White Paper, Ireland's Transition to a Low Carbon Energy Future, sets out a road-map for Ireland to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050. The strategy is clear that non-renewable energy sources will make a significant – though progressively smaller – contribution to our energy mix over the course of the energy transition.
The National Mitigation Plan, published in July 2017, restates the Government’s commitment to move from a fossil fuel-based electricity system to a low-carbon power system. Investment in further renewable generation will be incentivised. During this transition, gas has the potential to deliver significant and sustained benefits, particularly in terms of enhanced security of supply. The development of an LNG facility would further enhance Ireland’s gas security of supply by increasing import route diversity and would be compatible with the State’s commitments to tackle climate change.
Ireland’s energy policy is fully aligned with the EU’s climate and energy objectives on the transition to decarbonisation, which includes continuous and on-going review of policies to reduce harmful emissions, improve energy efficiency, incentivise efficient and sustainable infrastructure investment, integrate markets, and promote research and innovation while ensuring our energy security of supply is maintained and enhanced.
In relation to gas, the production, sourcing, buying and selling of natural gas produced outside this jurisdiction is an operational matter for the undertakings involved. I have no policy remit in relation to the means of energy production in other countries. There is no national legislative licensing requirement to specify from where natural gas should be imported, or how imported gas should be produced. An LNG facility will have to meet national safety and environmental conditions as well as meeting the gas quality specification for the transmission network as defined in the Code of Operations.
Final investment decisions for the Shannon LNG project and compliance with any legal and regulatory requirements in relation to consents or permits are the responsibility of the project promoter.
On 6 July 2017, the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Act, 2017 was enacted. The Act amended the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act, 1960 to provide for the prohibition of exploration for and extraction of onshore petroleum by means of hydraulic fracturing in Ireland, and to provide for related matters.