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Texan gas company NextDecade signs deal with Port of Cork
Texas-based liquefied natural gas (LNG) company NextDecade is eyeing up a LNG import terminal at the Port of Cork.

The company announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Port of Cork to "advance a joint development opportunity in Ireland for a new floating storage and regasification unit and associated LNG-import terminal infrastructure".

Under the terms of the memorandum the potential development at the Port of Cork would receive LNG from the Texan company's planned Rio Grande LNG project in south Texas. The Rio Grande valley is one of a number of areas where preliminary work on US president Donald Trump's border wall is taking place.

"The development would provide competitively-priced energy solutions to Ireland and its regional partners under long-term contracts," the company said in a statement. "If constructed, the project would substantially increase and diversify Ireland's supply of natural gas."

Ireland's gas supply has come under scrutiny in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, with commentators referring to the geographical disadvantages of the country.

The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies reported in March of this year that Ireland could be placed in a difficult situation if the UK no longer has to abide by the EU security of supply regulation when it leaves the EU.

With the Marathon gas field off Kinsale nearing exhaustion Ireland has been becoming increasingly dependent on imported natural gas. However UK gas fields won't last forever either, and we are at the very end of the supply line for potential Russian gas imports. So this project could diversify and secure Ireland's source of supply.  However it also places us in the very middle of controversies regarding fracked US gas and US attempts to use sanctions on Russian gas to force Europe to import more expensive US gas. Best, of course, to reduce our dependency on natural gas altogether, but that still seems some way off.

In the short term Brexit is forcing us to re-evaluate our dependency on UK imports in all sorts of ways, and in particular in relation to the all Ireland electricity grid and it's inter-connectors with the UK. Plans are afoot to build an inter-connector with France.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 9th, 2017 at 01:24:56 PM EST

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