Published: Thu, 14 July 2016
Seán Kelly MEP has been appointed as an energy spokesperson, specifically for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), for the EPP Group – the largest political group in the European Parliament. The Ireland South MEP’s appointment, as a member of the Committee on International Trade, comes as the EU prepares to strengthen energy supply and security with the Energy Union.
Speaking from the European Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Kelly stressed the importance for Europe in seizing the opportunity to secure energy supply:
“The global gas market has been developing rapidly over the past number of years bringing significant opportunities for Europe to tap into this market for security and lower consumer prices.
“However, it is a cause for much concern, that in 2015, 41 percent of EU gas imports came from Russia – a 7pc increase on the previous year. There is a need to move away from this dependence, regardless of how we perceive Russia’s reliance as a supplier. It is simply uncompetitive for Europe, and effectively utilising LNG would allow us to arbitrage between piped gas from Russia and the global market, reaping price benefits in the process.”
Mr Kelly cited Ireland as an example in a speech to the Parliament’s Committee on International Trade today: “In Ireland, my own country, for example, where until December 2015, we were dependent on a single UK pipeline for 95% of gas supply on the island of Ireland. While the recently-online Corrib gas field provides some respite up to 2022 or so, LNG will need to be seriously considered to ensure that we too will not soon be fully energy dependent on a non-EU country. The consequences of Brexit continue to emerge.”
Mr Kelly welcomed the increased use of renewable energy but warned that renewables will not be sufficient in the short term. “Gas will continue to play an important role in our energy system in the medium term – for this reason, the LNG strategy is timely.”
The MEP and Leader of the Fine Gael Delegation in the European Parliament has consistently voiced his support for the development of the Shannon LNG terminal at Ballylongford, Co Kerry in his role as an MEP to his European counterparts, explaining its massive potential and strategic importance for securing Europe’s future gas supply.