Published: Wed, 18 November 2015
Seán Kelly MEP (Ireland South) has confirmed that the Kerry-based Shannon LNG project and its connecting pipeline will now be considered a key part of the EU’s energy strategy. The decision places Shannon LNG on an updated list of key European Projects of Common Interest to integrate Europe’s energy markets and diversify sources.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Brussels (Wednesday), Mr Kelly said today’s announcement from the European Commission followed years of work in promoting the importance of the project at EU level: “We must not underestimate the importance of this announcement. The proposed Shannon LNG terminal in Ballylongford, Co Kerry will now benefit from improved regulatory treatment and increased funding opportunities under the Connecting Europe Facility. While increased possibilities of assistance under the risk leveraging European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) should help the project attract the required private investment.
“This is a huge step towards putting in place a project that is badly needed for Ireland, for Kerry, and for Europe,” said the Kerry MEP who regularly met the EU’s Energy Commissioner, Arias Cañete, over the past year as Europe’s plan for a reliable supply of gas was formulated amid continued tensions with Russia.
The proposed terminal would bring significant benefits to the local area by creating up to 650 jobs during a four year construction phase with 50 permanent jobs afterwards.
“The benefits for Ireland are clear. It puts more money in the pockets of consumers and helps to make our industries more competitive. Our recovery is fragile, but projects such as Shannon LNG can help to make it secure.”
Additional benefits will be brought to the Irish energy consumers according to the MEP: “Lithuania had the highest gas costs in Europe before the LNG terminal was built in Klaipeda. By increasing competition through LNG imports, Lithuania have ended their dependence on Russian gas and significantly reduced their gas prices in just one year.”
Mr Kelly also thanked the Commissioner for his cooperation: “Commissioner Cañete has been extremely enthusiastic about the Shannon LNG project and recognises its importance both in terms of its European energy policy importance, economic growth and gas supply in the region”.
“The evidence is there – projects that the Commission identifies as being of key strategic importance are being built. I hope that this provides a big push for the Shannon LNG project to finally get up and running,” Mr Kelly concluded.