Release March 13th 2013:
Shannon LNG High Court Case Ends after 7 days - judgement reserved.
case of Shannon LNG versus the Irish Commission for Energy Regulation
(CER), Ireland and the Attorney General ended in the High
Court today with judgement being reserved by Justice Cooke until
Shannon LNG was challenging the decision by the
Irish Energy Regulator to outlaw a monopoly price-distortion loophole
in the Irish gas market which would have forced the Irish consumers to
subsidise the Shannon LNG project to the tune of up to €50 million per
In a victory for open competition and consumer price protection, the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), with full support from the European Commission (DG Energy), had already
ruled on June 29th, 2012 that all gas suppliers in Ireland must
contribute to the cost of the interconnector pipeline from Britain to
Ireland, whether they use it or not.
Shannon LNG's predatorial business plan was based on selling gas for slightly less
than the benchmark interconnector price which would have given it a
dominant market position. However, this would have caused an increase
in consumer prices as decreasing numbers of interconnector
customers would be forced to pay more to cover the €50 million annual
fixed cost of the pipeline.
the Shannon LNG project goes ahead then it will no longer be with the
certainty of any market share they wish. The closing of the
price-distortion loophole by the Energy Regualtor, if confirmed by the High Court, would almost
certainly see the end of the predatorial Shannon LNG project which had
been hoping to take advantage of a weakness in the Irish gas pricing
The Judicial Review heard in the Commercial Court section of the High Court lasted 7 days in the presence of Justice Cooke.
legal team for Shannon LNG consisted of Mr. Michael Cush (SC),
Mr. Conor Quigley (QC) and Mr. Jarlaith Fitzsimons (BL),
instructed by Ms. Nicola Dunleavy of Mathesons.
The legal team
for the Commission for Energy Regulation consisted of Mr. Michael
Collins (SC), Mr. Cian Ferriter (SC) and Ms. Margaret Gray (BL),
instructed by Mr. Conor McDonnell of Arthur Cox.
team for Ireland and the Attorney General consisted of Mr. Shane Murphy
(SC), Mr. Eoin Carolan (BL), instructed by Ms. Fiona Woodyatt of CSSO.
legal team for Bord Gais, a notice party in the case, consisted of Mr.
Paul Gallagher (SC), Mr. John Gleeson (SC) and Mr. Jonathan Newman
(BL), instructed by Ms. Alison Fanagan of A&L Goodboody.
case will prove a difficult one for Shannon LNG to win on
competition grounds. This is because the EU directive 2009/73/EC
concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas, recital
"Energy regulators should also be granted the power to decide,
irrespective of the application of competition rules, on appropriate
measures ensuring customer benefits through the promotion of effective
competition necessary for the proper functioning of the internal market
in natural gas."
Referring to the words "Energy regulators should also be granted the power to decide,
irrespective of the application of competition rules" Justice Cooke told Shannon LNG's legal team on the final day in court that this was an "unfortunate phrase" for them.