ireland's biggest
and most urgent
environmental
threat is coming

it's time to stop
shannon lng

it's time for
a better way


Shannon LNG is a huge processing plant for imported fracked shale gas - planned for shannon estuary in 2019

This will be one of the biggest fracked gas terminals in Europe and open until 2050 – locking us into climate polluting fossil fuels for decades.
LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) will be shipped in giant tankers from the US and re-gasified here. 50% will be piped to Europe. This is a disaster for:


Ireland would be locked into decades of fracked shale gas - despite our ban on fracking. Shannon LNG would be a disaster for our economy, our environment and our people.

Once the infrastructure is built, we will be dependent on US fracked gas for decades. Yet in the US, despite huge investment, fracking debts are already mounting. This gas is cheap now but what happens when the price goes up to service these debts?

Shannon LNG could cripple the developing Irish renewable industry – how will access to 30 years’ worth of US fracked shale gas affect investment and political will to transition cleanly?

The Irish renewable energy industry is growing rapidly. A recent KMPG report found that solar could add 7,300 jobs in the next 11 years. Wind energy alone is set to directly employ 5,500 people by 2020, with many of the jobs based in rural Ireland where employment is needed most. After construction Shannon LNG will only create between 50 – 100 jobs but will take over a huge part of the energy market. The renewable industry can’t grow if it gets crowded out by imported gas. Why not support the Irish renewable industry which will create thousands more jobs instead of Shannon LNG? Supporting renewable energy would also enhance Ireland’s energy security. In 2013, we were still importing nearly 90 per cent of its energy requirements. In contrast, Denmark, where 80% of wind energy is owned by some form of community partnership, generates 88% of its own energy.

 

According to a recent academic review, we can transition cleanly without fracked shale gas imports.

Lead author Professor Barry McMullin of the School of Electronic Engineering of DCU, said:

“Based on Ireland’s large natural resource of renewable energy coupled with the use of large-scale energy storage, rapid fossil fuel phase out is not only technically feasible, but can progressively eliminate the security-of-supply risks associated with all imported fossil fuels

Other countries are leading the way. Sweden plans to run entirely on renewable energy by 2040, while Denmark is already at 140% electricity from wind power.

Meanwhile from 2020, Ireland faces annual bills of 600 million for missing Paris Climate Accord targets.

An Bord Pleanála has renewed Shannon LNG’s planning permission. There was no public consultation. There isn’t even any government policy in place to deal with fracked shale gas imports.

– a dangerous method of underground gas extraction that pollutes water supplies and causes earth tremors.

Ireland has also chosen to divest from fossil fuels, yet half the cost of Shannon LNG would come from EU taxpayers


Worldwide, the fracked shale gas industry is fuelling climate change and the plastic crisis - and causing severe harm in fracked communities.

We only have 12 years left to avoid the deadliest impacts of climate change according to the IPCC – the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Shannon LNG will lock us into 30 years of dependence on an even more damaging fossil fuel than coal.

Studies led by NASA have confirmed that the US fracked shale gas industry is the most responsible for the huge rise in global methane emissions over the past decade. This gas is mostly composed of methane – and methane traps at least 86 times more heat than carbon during its first 20 years after it is released into the atmosphere, making it a much more potent greenhouse gas.

Twenty years ago, there was hopes that gas is cleaner, and could act as a ‘bridge’ or ‘transition fuel’ until renewables take over. That’s because, when burnt, shale gas releases only half the carbon dioxide that is released when ‘conventional’ fossil fuels such as coal are burnt. However, the latest research tells us that raw methane leaks at every stage of the fracking and distribution process. In fact, so much raw methane is leaking that any ‘clean fuel’ advantage of fracked shale gas over coal is lost. 

You can listen to more details in the interview with Professor Robert Howarth of Cornell University below or read more here.

Just how much raw methane is leaking? New York Times journalist Mark Bittman uncovers frightening results when he goes ‘Chasing Methane’.

Fracked shale gas is fuelling the plastic pollution choking our oceans. It means that production of plastics is likely to increase by 40% in the next 10 years.

 

With a proposed annual regasification capacity twice the current Irish consumption, we can assume that at least 50% of the fracked shale gas processed at Shannon LNG would be piped onwards to Europe, mostly the UK. 

In the UK, imported fracked shale gas is used by the largest owner of shale gas licenses, petrochemical giant Ineos, for the production of plastic. 

We banned fracking because of the harm it causes – earth tremors and the pollution of air, soil and water. Instead we’ll be inflicting that harm on indigenous and marginalised communities in the US. How is that fair?

Europe already has many LNG terminals but they are currently only operating at 23% capacity. Why build more? Because energy is power. Thanks to the fracked shale gas industry, the US is now the world’s leading source of fossil fuels.

During trade negotiations with the EU in 2018, Trump
called for the opening of even more LNG terminals in Europe. America is building a European market for its gas and the Shannon Estuary is strategically important. There are ONLY two suitable deep-water harbours in Europe for an operation this big – Rotterdam and the Shannon. Do we want to be part of this?


Shannon LNG threatens local communities, local industries and the Shannon Estuary - a Special Protection Area for marine wildlife in an area that relies on tourism

An estimated 21,000 people work in tourism in Clare and Kerry. Tourists come here come here for our clean, unblemished environment. Shannon LNG would be built on the Wild Atlantic Way. In size and capacity, it would equal Europe’s largest gas infrastructure projects and be visible from Kilrush and Kilkee. After construction, Shannon LNG would employ only 50-100 people. 

 

 

The Shannon Estuary is the only Special Area of Conservation for dolphins in Ireland and an EU designated Special Protection Area (SPA).

The Shannon Estuary is one of the most important sites for whales, dolphins and porpoises in Ireland.
It is the home of our only known resident group of bottlenose dolphins and a known calving area.

The site is a hugely important coastal wetland area, and is home to over twenty species of wetland and waterbirds. 

So far, there have been no major LNG tanker spills and serious explosions in LNG terminals have been rare. So why should we be worried?

Hess Corporation lied repeatedly

During the siting process in 2008, parent company Hess Corporation repeatedly claimed that spilled LNG warms on contact with air, rises and harmlessly evaporates which is simply not true. So how can we be sure that they didn’t lie about anything else? Can we trust that all the information on which Bord Pleanala based their decision to grant planning permission was true?

According to LNG risk expert Dr Tony Cox “the part about it being lighter than air is completely false… the conclusion was unequivocally reached both in theory and experiment that these vapour clouds remain denser than air throughout all the important parts of their dispersion until well beyond the point where they become dilute and safe.”

According to the IMO (International Maritime Organisation):

“If e.g. a serious grounding or collision accident occurs that results in spillage of LNG, this has the potential for formation of a vapour cloud that may drift some distances before reaching the lower flammability limit.

This would represent a hazard to everyone within this distance, and if the vapour cloud encounters an ignition source when concentrations are in the flammable region, it will ignite.”

Another LNG safety expert, Professor Jerry Havens of the University of Arkansas also expressed concern, saying that “information that has been made available in the research programs already completed is not being brought uniformly on board in the siting process”. He warned that “in haste to site LNG terminals we should be careful not to cut corners on issues of public safety such as this glaring example implies.”

Terrorism Risk

Terrorists already have plans to target LNG tankers near terminals in the UK and elsewhere. As the main entry point to Europe for US gas, we can’t rule out Shannon LNG becoming a target.

In the event of an attack on Shannon LNG, Jerry Havens said:

“it could result in a pool fire on water with magnitude beyond anything that has been experienced to my knowledge, and in my opinion could have the potential to put people in harm’s way to a distance of approximately three miles from the ship.

I have testified repeatedly that I believe that the parties that live in areas where this threat could affect them deserve to have a rational, science-based determination made of the potential for such occurrences, no matter how unlikely they may be considered.”

Shannon LNG would use 100 million gallons of Estuary water every day, which would be pumped back into the Estuary at colder temperatures, affecting micro-organisms and crustaceans. And what happens to local jobs in the fishing industry?

Super tankers will be moving through the Estuary 104 times a year,  slowing Estuary traffic and halting development up river.

There has been no Public Participation. An Bord Pleanála has renewed Shannon LNG’s planning permission. But were they the right people to make this decision?