Ireland warned of risk posed by Brexit to energy supplies

Ireland’s energy supply is at risk of being “doubly disconnected” due to Brexit, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has been warned. The claim came from the Irish Offshore Operators’ Association (IOOA) in a letter to Mr Martin at the end of November.

The Programme for Government commits to a ban on new exploration for oil and gas off Ireland’s coast as part of efforts to fight climate change.

Mandy Johnston, chief executive of the IOOA, told Mr Martin: “In the case of any future gas supply emergency disruption, the UK will no longer be bound by current EU obligations to provide ‘solidarity’. It is our fear that Ireland is on the verge of being doubly disconnected, first from indigenous supply and then by Brexit.”

Mr Johnston pointed out that the Kinsale Head gas field is at the end of its life, while the Corrib field is beyond “the point of peak production”.

She attached an IOOA report which argues that the impact of Brexit will compound the challenges of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. It added that increasing energy imports will result in higher greenhouse gas emissions due to the increase in distance from their source.

Climate Action Minister Eamon Ryan commented on the warning in the letter, saying that trade in natural gas between the UK and Ireland continues with no tariffs. 

“In the case of any natural gas supply emergency disruption, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement ensures the EU and the UK shall cooperate with respect to the security of supply of natural gas,” he said. 

Mr Ryan also dismissed any concerns that there would be a shortage of oil or major logistical concerns. He claimed the IOOA “is attempting to use Brexit to try and dissuade us from a ban on oil and gas exploration. It won’t work.”

Mr Ryan added: “The future lies in renewable energy, and the planned interconnector to France will give Ireland the capacity to export renewable electricity from offshore wind.

“It will mean that we are doubly connected to mainland Europe, both directly and via the UK.”

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