An eleventh-hour planning objection to a €1bn liquid natural gas (LNG) project in the Shannon Estuary is now due to come before the High Court for decision on October 4.
The objection was lodged after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced on August 27 that new owners had come on board. The project has the full support of the Government.
The project was first announced 13 years ago and in recent years, having gone through a long planning process, faced objections from the energy regulator.
The Taoiseach announced that US equity fund, New Fortress Energy had bought out the project and it had the full support of the Government.
The development proposes to ship liquid gas to a location off Tarbert and transfer it to a terminal through a 26km pipeline.
A 500 MW power station is also planned.
The Taoiseach said: “The development will provide a significant boost to the Shannon region and provide a foundation for further investment in the region.
Up to 400 people would be employed during construction and when the plant is operational 100 will be employed.
Shortly after the Taoiseach’s announcement, an environmental group lodged an objection to the extension of the original planning approval.
The High Court adjourned the objection until after the holiday recess. It is now on the October 4 court list.
Fianna Fáil Senator Ned O’Sullivan, a long-time supporter of the project, said: “I hope the court can deal with this matter as soon as possible. This project has been reviewed and objected to every step of the way over the past 13 years.
There isn’t a project in Ireland more open and transparent. The original backers walked away over objections, having spent millions on the project. We can’t second guess the court, but I would hope this latest objection can be heard and decided on as soon as possible.
For strategic, geographical purposes the US government strongly supports liquefied natural gas terminals in Europe.
Shannon LNG managing director, Paddy Power, said the Shannon Estuary plant will connect Ireland to the global liquefied natural market and provide greater security of energy supply.
Wes Edens, founder and chairman of New Fortress said the project is critical for Ireland’s energy security and would benefit the environment and the economy.
Depending on the High Court ruling on October 4, the LNG facility could commence operations by the end of 2020. according to the backers.