Ireland’s Position on LNG shifting After Wes Eden New Shannon Project Proposal

New Fortress Energy’s previous attempt to develop a liquefied natural gas terminal in Ireland came to a grinding halt in 2020 following a ruling by Irish High Court. The court’s decision was prompted by the widespread opposition to the project by numerous environmental groups and campaigners.

The proposal to develop the Shannon LNG terminal was submitted in 2014 under the leadership of Wes Edens. The earlier proposal had sought to develop the Shannon LNG project claiming that the project was in line with the firm’s goal to become a leader in carbon-free energy. The company had also promised to achieve zero net emissions within ten years of running the terminal.

Following the court decisions, Irish energy minister Eamon Ryan quickly joined the wagon expressing his opposition to fracked gas. Eamon had stated that Ireland did not find any need to develop LNG terminals within its territory, including the Shannon LNG project.

However, Wes Edens is not giving up on the Shannon LNG terminal. Wes and his company New Fortress Energy have been pushing for the project and have recently been allowed to submit a new proposal to Ireland’s planning authority, An Bord Pleanala.

The new proposal by Wes Edens is valued at $750 million. According to the proposal, New Fortress will undertake the project in phases. The first phase will develop a terminal and the power plant. It will cost €650, create 270 construction jobs and a further70 permanent jobs upon operationalization, according to Vice President of project development at New Fortress, Sam Abdalla.

The company will develop a data center as the last phase of the project. It is expected to have eight data halls and will create 400 long term jobs upon completion. Development of data centers on LNG terminal sites has been a constant proposal due to the cooling provided by the LNG regasification at -160C. Nonetheless, few such plans have materialized since LNG terminals are considered at high risk of fires. Nonetheless, New Fortress is promising that these issues will be mitigated by its plan to shift from LNG to hydrogen in the future.