Ukraine/Russia gas dispute highlights Irelands exposure
Energy minister Eamon Ryan is preparing to go to Brussels for an energy ministerial meeting next Monday should the Ukraine/Russian gas dispute continue. “While this is a serious situation, Ireland remains unaffected by the dispute at this time” he said. The minister said that his department, the energy regulator and Bord Gáis are closely monitoring developments as they unfold.
“The government is looking to Ukraine and Russia to solve this dispute immediately and are working within the EU to this end. It is unacceptable that a bilateral dispute between two countries would adversely affect European gas supply at the height of winter,” he said.
Ireland’s gas supply needs are met almost entirely from imports from the UK. Therefore, any disruption in the UK market would affect Ireland. Our own depleting Kinsale gas field now supplies only four per cent of our gas requirements. In addition, the gas storage facility at Kinsale has capacity to store enough gas to supply around 50 per cent of residential and SME demand for up to 50 days.
Minister Ryan continued, “This dispute is a ‘wake up call’ to Ireland in energy terms. It shows the level of Irish exposure to the actions of other countries with a supply chain that is outside of our control. Our dependence on imports makes Ireland potentially vulnerable to such outside shocks.
"We cannot be at the mercy of the producing nations - we need our own energy. We need swift production of our indigenous energy resources of gas and renewable energy. The government’s target of 40 per cent of energy to come from renewable sources will help us in this aim. Ireland needs to continue to find and rapidly develop our national energy resources to reduce our exposure to supply disruption and imported price volatility."
In the unlikely event that there was disruption to gas supplies to Ireland from the UK, then the Government would instigate a Network Emergency Plan, which would see gas from the Kinsale fields supplied to residential and SME customers. Power generators would switch to an alternative fuel for this time.
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