Energy Institute

When will gas from Irish sources run out?

Until 1994 all our gas requirements were met from the Kinsale gas fields. After a period of growing dependence on imported gas we can once again meet 58% to 60% of our gas requirements from the two sources of natural gas in Ireland; Kinsale (2-4%) and Corrib (56%). Without further discoveries we will be importing up to 90% of our gas needs by 2025.

In 2015 up to December, 96% of our natural gas was imported from Britain. The Kinsale Gas Fields, once depleted, were partially redeveloped as a gas production reservoir. One field, the Southwest gasfield, was adapted for gas storage after indigenous production went into decline 1,2.

The Corrib gas field started pumping gas ashore in December 2015 and will meet about 56% of annual Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) system demands (77% of RoI demand and 38% of Ireland’s max daily demand at the peak of its production) 3,4.

However, the supply from this undersea gas resource will decline to a point where in just over 10 years, in the absence of the discovery and development of new fields, we will again be about 90% dependent on imported gas from the UK and abroad (Figure 7). This decline could occur in as soon as five years 5,6.

Figure 7. Annual Gas Network Ireland System Gas Supply Forecast – Grey Scenario

Gas Networks Ireland (2015) Network Development Plan 2015. Available Online.

  • Moffat
  • Inch
  • Corrib
  • RNG

There is a permitted proposal to develop a Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal on the Shannon Estuary to allow natural gas to be imported in liquid form by ship. Under current market conditions it is not certain that the project will go ahead anytime soon. Shannon LNG illustrated its case for an LNG terminal in Ireland by illustrating the current and long term dependence on imports from the UK 7.

Forecast All-Island demand for gas

The current low international price of oil is affecting petroleum exploration worldwide and may set back exploration in the Irish offshore petroleum province making a gas find, as a by-product of petroleum exploration, less likely in Irish waters within the next five years or so.

Notwithstanding the Providence Resources Ballycotton discovery field, there has been no declaration of a commercial oil find to date. Petroleum exploration in Irish offshore waters is very capital intensive and, despite government promotion of licensing, faces competition for investment partly due to the geology and prospectivity of the province, the regulatory requirements as well as environmental and fiscal challenges 8,9.