Published: Tue, 08 March 2016
Shannonside MEP Seán Kelly has highlighted the Shannon Estuary as a strategic gateway to the EU in terms of International Trade and Energy Security. Speaking in the European Parliament in Brussels this week (Monday), the Fine Gael MEP highlighted the importance of the estuary for both the local economy, and for the European Union in general.
In his contribution to a debate on Market Access to Ports, Kelly noted the global developments that give Shannon-Foynes the advantage over EU counterparts.
“The redevelopment of the Panama Canal over the past few years is a game changer for global maritime transport. Beginning this year we will start to see huge new vessels coming through. As a result, the advantage will be firmly with ports with that have deep water terminals.”
“Shannon Foynes is the only Irish port that has such facilities and one of only a few in Europe. It enables the EU to capitalise on this opportunity.”
“Extending the core EU network corridor to Shannon Foynes is important as this will bring increased investment, allowing the EU to benefit from the significant potential of the port in terms of trading opportunities. This will also bring significant job creation to the Shannon Estuary – super tanker trade alone has potential to generate more than 3,000 jobs in the region.”
In a further contribution, MEP Kelly went on to explain the potential of the Shannon Estuary, highlighting the key role that the proposed Shannon LNG terminal in Co. Kerry can play in securing energy supply in Europe.
“Developments in global gas markets present an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss. From an EU and Irish perspective, we are overly reliant on Russia and the UK respectively for our gas supply. With trade in Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) set to increase by 45% by 2020, the opportunity to diversify is clear.
“For this reason, the Shannon LNG project in Ballylongford, a project that has already been identified as a European Project of Common Interest (PCI), needs to be built before the opportunity is missed. Global markets are becoming increasingly liquid; tapping into them would allow Ireland to arbitrage between piped UK gas and LNG from the global market, while the EU can collectively do the same between Russian gas and the global market.”
“This creates a competitive gas market, lowering our energy prices in the process. Not only does this mean cheaper bills for Irish consumers, it also takes expenses away from our businesses, making us an even more attractive and competitive destination for business investment,” he added.