Published: Fri, 24 April 2015
Ireland needs to diversify its energy supply for greater energy security and competitiveness, Seán Kelly MEP told the Annual Conference of Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) in Dublin today (Thursday). In opening the conference, Mr Kelly stressed the importance of natural gas to our energy mix and called on the European Commission to play a leading role in reducing the EU’s current dependence on Russia for its gas supply.
“Natural gas will continue to play a central role in the EU and Ireland’s efforts to achieve a secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy supply,” the Ireland South MEP told the high-level audience.
“Being economically attractive to investors and cleaner than other fossil fuels, gas brings significant benefits by driving economic growth and providing the flexibility needed for the integration of more renewables into our energy mix. However, Europe is currently dependent on Russia for too much of its gas supply, and that is a cause for concern. So, I welcome the current discussions and initiatives aimed at identifying new suppliers for Europe.”
The EU imports around 66 percent of its natural gas, with much of this coming from Russia. Ireland is more than 85 percent dependent on imports for gas, mostly through Britain. MEP Kelly noted that Ireland’s domestic production is set to increase significantly in the coming months with the Corrib gas field about to come online and estimated to have potential to supply up to 60 percent of Ireland’s gas needs at peak production until around 2022.
“The Corrib project brings welcome added energy security in the short term for Ireland. However, we must strive for added diversity of supply to eliminate the risk of shortages and provide competitive prices for consumers. This means identifying new gas suppliers and supply routes for Europe, and increasing our indigenous renewable energy production,” he said.
In opening today’s conference, Mr Kelly was joined by GIE President, Jean-Claude Depail, General Manager of Gaslink, Aiden O’Sullivan, Minister for Communication, Energy and Natural Resources, Alex White, and European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete. He was keen to praise the work that Commissioner Cañete has done since taking office, particularly in launching the EU Energy Union.
“I am pleased with the initiative the Commissioner has taken in putting forward plans for a well-functioning internal energy market while focusing on developing a coherent external supply strategy. As a Member of the European Parliament, I have had the opportunity to discuss and collaborate on these issues with him and firmly believe we are now moving in the right direction. The major strategic projects intended to boost interconnection and energy supply for Europe are crucial, as is the completion of the internal market – a key component of a European Security of Supply Strategy.”
MEP Kelly is a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) which is currently drafting a resolution on European Energy Security Strategy, scheduled for committee vote on May 7th.
Pictured L-R: Ervia CEO Michael McNicholas, Seán Kelly MEP, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Alex White, European Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy Miguel Arias Cañete, GIE President Jean-Claude Depail, Gaslink GM Aidan O’ Sullivan
Pictured L-R: Ervia CEO Michael McNicholas, Seán Kelly MEP, European Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy Miguel Arias Cañete, Gaslink GM Aidan O’ Sullivan