Wednesday 20 March 2019

Corrib unlikely to reduce natural gas prices

Sarah McCabe

The Corrib natural gas pipeline is unlikely to have a large downward impact on the cost of gas, Gas Networks Ireland's head of finance said.

The newly rebranded company, formerly Bord Gais Networks, owns and maintains the country's network of gas pipes. It is owned by Ervia, the same State company that runs Irish Water, and was recently split from supply company Bord Gais Energy.

Edwina Nyhan said the main benefit of the gas field, which will start pumping gas onshore this year, is enhanced security of supply.

Corrib will be able to meet up to 60pc of Irish gas demand at peak supply, Ms Nyhan said.

There is no way to physically export the gas via pipes - called interconnectors - that run between the UK and Ireland, because they only pump gas in one direction.

But its operators will be able to trade the gas virtually with foreign suppliers, Ms Nyhan said, so the total amount of gas available may not actually increase.

However, it may give customers some extra buying power, she added. "You'd imagine that it gives your suppliers some element of buying power in terms of gas. Alternative sources force competition into a market."

"And you are now getting it from an Irish indigenous source rather than being dependent on the interconnectors" said Ms Nyhan.

"The interconnectors have the capacity to supply the whole island but having another source means that if anything were to happen with the interconnectors of with Corrib, you've another option from which you can draw gas."

Ms Nyhan said there has not yet been a problem with security of supply of natural gas - "but that doesn't mean there isn't a risk," she added.

Gas Networks Ireland's priorities this year include connecting Nenagh, Co Tipperary ,with gas and reinforcing the interconnectors, she added.

It will spend around €150m on operating costs and €100m on capital investments.

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