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Port of Cork: No fears over floating tanker

Thursday, 3rd August, 2017 9:07am

The Port of Cork has rejected claims that plans for a new liquefied natural gas tanker, to be permanently moored in Cork Harbour, poses a risk.

A US company yesterday announced plans for a major project to bring more than €300 million of natural gas into Cork Harbour every year.

The major project by NextDecade would supply a substantial amount of Ireland’s natural gas requirements.

As part of the plans, a new floating gas tanker would be located near Whitegate in Cork Harbour, very close to a Gas Network Ireland connector.

The Green Party in Cork yesterday raised concerns that the new tanker facility, which will turn liquid gas back to usable natural gas, would be close to the naval headquarters and a number of pharmaceutical companies.

Oliver Moran, the Green Party representative in Cork North Central, said: “Key questions need to be asked about why this is being planned as a floating facility moored in the harbour. Is it to avoid safety regulations that a properly planned on-shore facility would require?

“Key national infrastructure, like the naval headquarters and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries in the harbour, will be a stone’s throw from this tanker. Not to mention pleasure craft and amenities like Spike Island.”

Captain Michael McCarthy, Commercial Manager of Port of Cork said the company has absolutely no fears about the tanker. He said: “There hasn’t been an accident involving these ships that I’ve ever heard of. This is the quickest way to ship, store and re-gas natural gas.

“We are confident that this will happen and Ireland needs it. It’s the best location in Ireland and maybe in Europe. It offers a strategic supply and with Brexit, it offers us an opportunity to by-pass Great Britain,” he added.

The Port of Cork and NextDecade, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) development company focused on LNG export projects and associated pipelines in the State of Texas, held a briefing on their plans to develop the new facility.

The duo recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work on a joint development in Cork Harbour for a new floating storage and regasification unit (FRSU) and associated infrastructure.

Under the terms of the MOU, the potential development would receive LNG from NextDecade’s planned Rio Grande LNG project in South Texas.

NextDecade say the proposed development would provide competitively priced energy solutions to Ireland under long-term contracts. If constructed, the project would substantially increase and diversify Ireland’s supply of natural gas.

Senior executives from NextDecade were in Cork yesterday to brief stakeholders.

Port of Cork Chairman John Mullins said: “As an entry point into the Irish energy market, Port of Cork is an attractive location for an FSRU-based LNG import terminal. Surrounded by existing marine infrastructure and industrial facilities, the proposed site is less than 2km from Gas Networks Ireland grid and would benefit from relatively benign metocean conditions.”

He continued: “We have had very positive meetings this morning with key industry players, all of whom are supportive of this project. Of course together with NextDecade there is a lot of ground work to complete and we look forward to widening our consultation on this project in the future.”

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