Gas pipeline must take account of future demand, say Limerick councillors

 Towns and villages along the route could have spurs 

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Gas pipeline must take account of future demand, say Limerick councillors

Cllr John Sheahan

WORK on laying the proposed national gas pipeline from Foynes to Listowel is now expected to begin next May or June.

But, a spokeswoman for Gas Networks Ireland, which is spearheading the project, confirmed that the route of the pipeline has not yet been finalised and surveys as well as site investigations and discussions with stakeholders are still continuing. No contractor has yet been appointed for the €20m project. 

But, according to Glin councillor, John Sheahan,  the route is expected to go through land on the “periphery” of the village.

And he has called on Gas Networks Ireland to take into account Glin’s future needs and those of  Tarbert when deciding on the exact location, design and capacity of the pipe.

In particular, he has argued the potential future demand at the industrial land-bank at Tarbert/Ballylongford needs to be factored in, along with the possibility of replacing oil with gas at the power station in Tarbert.

The existing manufacturing businesses in Glin as well as householders could also be possible customers, Cllr Sheahan pointed out in a  motion to the recent meeting of Newcastle West Municipal District.

“This is an issue that is ongoing,” he said, explaining that Kerry Ingredients and Gas Networks Ireland had signed an agreement to bring natural gas to the plant and to provide a domestic supply in the town.

But, he added, other towns and villages could have “spurs” off the line.

This is the third proposal for a gas pipeline along the coast, the Glin councillor pointed out, citing Shannon LNG’s proposal to link its proposed plant at Tarbert Ballylongford to the main gas network at Foynes. And at one time, there had been a proposal to link Tarbert power station to the gas network, he explained.

“It is amazing that, with the land bank in Tarbert, that nobody on the Kerry side has been looking to see if that could be done,” the councillor remarked. 

And he asked that the council’s director of economic development, Pat Daly, would contact Gas Networks Ireland to ensure that future demand was not being overlooked.

“Once it is done, it is done,” he said.

In October, Gas Networks Ireland announced it was seeking tenders for the construction of a 40km gas pipeline from Barrigone, Foynes to Listowel and for the development of a gas network in the town.

At the time, a spokeswoman for the company said the final route for the pipeline had not yet been confirmed and that the next stage of the project will involve “route reviews” to assess the suitability of various routes.

However, she added, it was likely to be along main roads. And she confirmed that no other towns or villages along the route, with the possible exception of Foynes, would be linked to the network.

The spokeswoman stressed that a key factor in extending the network to towns other than Listowel would be a “significant increase in gas demand from a town, probably resulting from the addition of a new large industrial or commercial user.”

“In simple terms, the expected revenues over a period of time must exceed the projected costs for the project to be viable,” she added.

The spokeswoman added that the company was continuing  to liaise with potential customers in Foynes.  “To this end, the exact footprint for the gas network in and around the town has not yet been finalised,” she said.

This week, Gas Network Ireland confirmed that the route has still to be finalised but that this will happen “in the coming weeks” .

“The contractor for the works will be chosen via public tender. While this process has commenced, the appointment of same will not be made until completion of the public tender process in circa March/April 2017, “ a spokeswoman said.