Natural gas will not be in short supply this winter, Irish network operator claims

Gas Networks Ireland maintains there is enough network capacity and natural gas sources to meet demand over coming months

Homes and businesses will not face a shortage of crucial natural gas supplies this winter, according to the State company responsible for distributing the fuel.

Gas Networks Ireland runs the all-Ireland network that supplies gas to power plants, industries and homes from the Corrib field and via a pipeline from Scotland.

Its 2022/2023 winter outlook maintains there are sufficient natural gas sources and enough network capacity to meet anticipated demand over the coming months.

Shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe have helped boost supplies to Britain, from where Ireland will import almost 80 per cent of its needs this winter, easing the risk of disruption.


Invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its subsequent shutdown of gas supplies to Europe sparked fears of a winter energy shortage earlier this year.

Almost 720,000 homes and businesses rely on natural gas, which supplies 30 per cent of total energy needs and is used to generate about half of Ireland’s electricity.

Gas Networks Ireland expects the Corrib field off the Mayo coast, Ireland’s only indigenous source, to supply about 21 per cent of demand this winter.

The Moffat Interconnector, which connects Ireland with Scotland and is the only import source, will account for the balance. Supplies from Britain and Norway will continue to be the main source of natural gas to the country this year.

These sources, coupled with LNG imports, mean there are “flexible and dependable supplies” to meet demand here, Gas Networks Ireland said.

Energy security

Maurice Power, the company’s future networks manager, acknowledged that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February sparked concerns here and in Europe about gas supplies and energy security. “However, while there is an elevated risk of disruption due to the uncertainty resulting from the war in Ukraine, we are not forecasting any disruption to gas supply this winter,” he said.

Mr Power added that the company had “robust and tested procedures” for dealing with a gas supply shortage.

Gas Networks Ireland works with the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities and the Government to minimise the risk of supply disruption, he pointed out.

The outlook itself notes that European natural gas storage sites were 89 per cent full by the start of last month. The EU aimed to have them 80 per cent full by November 1st.

European LNG imports almost doubled this year, helping to ease the pressure on supplies, while more than half those shipments arrived in the northwest of the continent.

Ireland has no LNG import facility but will benefit from the extra shipments as they will help maintain British reserves, which in turn cut the risk of disruption to supplies here.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas