Written answers

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Energy Resources

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)
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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]

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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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]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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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.


John McElligott (Safety Before LNG)
Posted on 23 Nov 2018 11:57 am (Report this comment)

The Minister responsible for Climate Action says he has no policy remit in the type of gas (fracked or not) being imported even though importing fracked gas is more detrimental to the climate than non-fracked gas and is dirtier than coal.

Maybe the country should think about introducing a policy on the importation of dirty shale/fracked gas so if there isn't one already.

At the end of the day, The Minister does have a remit of "Climate Action" and the Climate does not recognise borders.

Minister Bruton did state on November 6th 2018 at the Climate Innovation Summit:
"I want to make Ireland a leader in responding to climate change, not a follower... Being a follower means the final costs of adjustment are much higher and opportunities much lower or completely lost".

Maybe Ireland could become a world leader in saying no to exporting climate poverty by refusing to be part of the fracked fossil fuel infrastructure because we all know now that gas is no longer a transitional fuel.


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