IT is business as usual for Shannon LNG, a spokesman for the company confirmed to the Limerick Leader this week. And he rejected media reports that the parent company, Hess Corporation was pulling out of Ireland and its billion-euro project of building a liquid natural gas plant at the Ballylongford/Tarbert land bank.
In fact, the spokesman revealed, Shannon LNG is lodging a Supreme Court appeal on the issue of tariffs to be paid for the upkeep of the gas interconnector between Ireland and Britain. S
hannon LNG has robustly opposed paying these tariffs, arguing that it should not have to pay for what it did not use and would cost them up to €50m a year. The company also argued that imposing such a tariff was uncompetitive.
However, the company spokesman confirmed that Hess was reviewing some of its activities and had, recently, sold some “non-core businesses”. This move, he said, had been misconstrued by some media as indicating that Hess was pulling out of the Shannon LNG project. “It is normal for manor international companies to review their operations from time to time,” he said. “Hess Corporation is refocusing its worldwide business to concentrate on its core activities.”
However, the continuing delays in getting the project off the ground has frustrated the company and a great many supporters of the project in the North Kerry/West Limerick area.
It is now almost eight years since the proposal to build a liquid natural gas plant got underway.
The new Minister for Energy, Alex White declared his support for the project this Monday. It would “provide additional security of supply to Ireland” by bringing diveristy to the country’s energy supply sources, he said.
“I would be keen to encourage and facilitate invests and jobs in the energy area,” he said. The Shannon LNG project is predicted to generate up to 400 jobs during construction and at least 50 permanent jobs.
John Fox, PRO for the Tarbert Development Association, said: “We have had so many false dawns on that site. Until we see something on the ground, we won’t believe it. But we are always hopeful.”
However, he added: “Politics is the art of the possible but in this particular case, politics has failed the people of North Kerry and West Limerick. They could have done more for this project, they should have done more.”