Currently, Ireland is at the end of a very long pipeline, importing 96% of its gas supplies from Europe via an interconnector pipeline from the UK. In the event of political instability or an interruption of Russian gas supplies to Europe – as happened for a short period in January 2009 – gas supplies to Ireland can be affected.
So the importance of securing Ireland’s energy supply has come into stark focus. Renewable energy sources will take many years to develop, therefore, as energy consumption increases, bringing indigenous gas supplies to market has become increasingly more important.
To date, 157 exploration and appraisal wells have been drilled to date in Ireland’s offshore. The only producing indigenous gas source is located at Kinsale Head. This field began producing in 1978 and now contains severely diminished quantities of gas.
Against this background, it is more important than ever that Corrib Gas is brought to the Irish market as quickly as possible.
Once in production, gas from the Corrib field will be distributed to homes and businesses throughout Ireland via the Bord Gáis Eireann national grid. As a result of the Corrib project the BGE distribution network is being extended to an additional 12 towns in County Galway and County Mayo.
Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL) interest offshore Ireland is confined to its 45% equity interest in the Corrib Field. SEPIL has no other equity interest in exploration acreage offshore Ireland. In recent years, following the completion of a number of agreed work programmes and studies, SEPIL has relinquished its various licences due to a lack of prospective drilling opportunities.
The company’s main focus is to ensure the timely delivery of Corrib gas in order to boost Ireland’s indigenous gas supply, thus enhancing the country’s security of energy supply as well as reducing for the first time in many years Ireland’s dependency on imported natural gas.
For more information on oil and gas exploration activities, visit the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources website
The Irish Offshore Operators' Association
The Irish Offshore Operators' Association (IOOA) has published an information booklet entitled "Securing our Energy Future - Irish Gas for a better tomorrow", which calls for further oil and gas exploration off the Irish coast and for the development of reliable sources of indigenous energy to secure the country's energy supply.