Shannon Development chief urges talks on €1bn impasse

The chief executive of Shannon Development called on all sides in the dispute on the development of a proposed €1bn liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility to enter talks and reach a compromise solution.

Vincent Cunnane was commenting on the impasse between the Commission of Energy Regulation and Shannon LNG over its planned €1bn terminal on the Shannon estuary.

He said the impasse had “put a question mark over the future viability of the project”.

“There are alternatives that can satisfy both the commission, the tariff structure and get this project over the line. What we are looking at here is a €1bn investment and not a penny asked of the state.”

Shannon LNG proposes to build the terminal on a Shannon Development-owned land bank at Ballylongford, Co Kerry. Planning permission was secured four years ago.

The project is expected to provide 800 jobs in construction and supply up to 45% of Ireland’s gas requirements to the national grid.

Shannon LNG has spent €40m on the project.

However, in its row with the commission, Shannon LNG contends that the new tariff structure around the funding of gas interconnectors into Ireland will cost the company €75m per annum.

The company is deferring a final decision as to whether to go ahead with the project until the commission has reached its final determination on the tariff structure.

A final decision is expected next month, with Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte ruling out intervening in the dispute.

Dr Cunnane confirmed that he met with the President of Hess Shannon LNG, Gordon Shearer, in the US last week.

“He is a very frustrated man and the frustration stems from the lack of clarity around the new ruling from the Energy Regulator that seems to be at odds with previous rulings and directions and the absence of definitive timeline and when decisions will be made and when these new tariffs will be put in place.”

Dr Cunnane said businesses needed certainty and that he hoped clarity on tariffs and timelines would come in the coming months.

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