Energy Institute

Will the Corrib gas field reduce prices?

Even with the Corrib gas field in production we will continue to import gas from Britain and the wholesale gas price in Ireland will continue to reflect the marginal cost of these top-up supplies. The expectation is that Corrib will have little effect on prices 1.

Corrib has the potential to meet 56% of the forecasted annual demand in its first full year of production and is anticipated to supply approximately 38% of Ireland’s peak gas demand in 2015/16. Being a relatively small field this is set to decline over a ten-year period 2(Fig. 4).

Figure 4. Annual Gas Networks Ireland System Gas Supply Forecast

GNI (2015) Network Development Plan. Available Online

  • Moffat
  • Inch
  • Corrib
  • RNG

The Corrib field will benefit Ireland’s security of gas supply by adding an additional gas entry point while reducing the need to import gas from Britain. It has already reduced the 96% reliance on the availability of the subsea pipelines, the associated compressor station and the gas transmission system.

If additional gas, be it offshore, unconventional shale or onshore conventional gas, were discovered and developed in Ireland and produced in quantities in excess of domestic requirements, there would certainly be price benefits for customer, revenue benefits to the exchequer and enhanced energy security. However, wholesale gas prices in Ireland would only drop below UK and continental European levels if there was an export infrastructure constraint for Irish supply. This situation would only come about in the event of a large discovery and where the existing pipeline capacity was exceeded so that there was no route to market for the available gas – in reality such a situation is likely to be temporary as investment in additional infrastructure would follow a large discovery.