Port authorities in Cork have signed a deal aimed at developing a new terminal to land gas from ships.
Texas-based NextDecade, a liquid natural gas company (LNG), has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Port of Cork to develop an LNG import terminal at the port.
In a statement the company said that the memorandum was "to advance a joint business development opportunity in Ireland for a new floating storage and regasification unit and associated LNG import terminal infrastructure".
The Port of Cork would receive liquid natural gas shipped from NextDecade's planned Rio Grande LNG project in South Texas.
According to NextDecade the development, if constructed, will provide competitively priced energy solutions to Ireland and its regional partners under long-term contracts.
About 60pc of Ireland's gas comes from the Shell Corrib field, but the country relies on imported natural gas from the UK.
With Brexit and the closure of Rough - a major natural gas storage site in the UK - there are concerns that Ireland's reliance on the UK for fuel could lead to price volatility in the market.
An LNG terminal in Cork would help alleviate those concerns, which have been raised as high as European Commission level.
Gas landed by ship could come from the US or Middle East and bypass the UK.
NextDecade said it is in talks to secure long-term contracts to sell LNG delivered through Cork.
In a statement NextDecade said that its CEO Kathleen Eisbrenner will meet with port officials and discuss the opportunity with local industry and political leaders.
NextDecade and the Port of Cork are planning a joint public event at the Port of Cork on August 2 to discuss their deal.
Its the second project of its kind mooted here. A €500m scheme to build the Shannon LNG terminal at Ballylongford, Co Kerry, has been on ice since US investor Hesse pulled out in 2015. Hesse objected to paying a levy on gas firms that would support rival pipelines to the UK.