Safety Before LNG
Exposing the truth about the Hess 'Shannon LNG' project
Negative Effects on the Shannon Estuary
Nevada LNG Explosion

Press Releases

Press Release December 13th 2013:
Senator Ned O'Sullivan attacks the Judiciary as he describes High Court judge's decision against Shannon LNG as "Appalling" .

It is disgraceful and shocking that a member of the Seanad, Ned O'Sullivan, would attack the judiciary when he described, in the Seanad, Judge Cooke's decision on the Shannon LNG project in the High Court as "APPALLING". Where is the separation of powers? The Energy Regulator is INDEPENDENT. The judiciary is INDEPENDENT. Mr. O'Sullivan is advancing the interests of a private company not the public interest. We recall quite clearly that Mr. Ned O'Sullivan was a director of Shannon & Foynes Port company when, as a Kerry County Councillor, he voted to rezone the land for the proposed Shannon LNG project without declaring his interest as a director of a company that would benefit enormously from the rezoning. Illegal lobbying, interference or peddling in influence with the Regulator or Judiciary for the benefit of a company registered in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands should not be tolerated by the other members of the legislature. Or does anyone understand any of the basic checks and balances that exist in our system and which are there to prevent the democratic process from being undermined?  Senator Ned O'Sullivan has undermined the democratic process in attacking the judiciary on the floor of the Seanad on December 12th 2013.


Notes to  Editor

Transcript of Seanad Debate from 12 December 2013:

Safety Before LNG.

Press Release December 11th 2013:
High Court ruling against Shannon LNG Saves the Irish People One Billion Euros and highlights Cabinet Minister's attack on the Democratic process.

Decision entirely vindicates position of Shannon LNG opponents as the truth comes out in the end.

On behalf of the local community, we thank the High Court for upholding the logical and evidence-base decision of the Energy Regulator which did not pander to the vested interests supporting the predatorial Shannon LNG project and for dismissing the Shannon LNG challenge as "unfounded".

If the LNG project does still go ahead in the end, putting lives, the environment and the strategic industrial development of the entire Shannon estuary section of Ireland's Western Arc at risk, it is satisfying to know that we will have at least saved the Irish people a billion Euros in the process because we were the first to raise this issue publicly with the Regulator in 2008.

In a David-and-Goliath battle and to the sheer delight of many locals  the outlawing of a  price-distortion loophole will  likely stop the proposed Shannon LNG project in its tracks because the company behind it will no longer have a monopoly advantage from a weakness in the Irish gas pricing system.

Bord Gais Networks, the ESRI, ESB Energy International, the National Energy Association of Ireland (NEAI) and even the owners of the local power station at Tarbert (Endesa), to name but a few, all supported the Regulator's decision. The ESB EI even went so far as to accuse new entrants (like Shannon LNG and Shell) of "free-riding" on the services that the gas interconnector provides. It would seem that the local pro-LNG media and narrowly-focussed local campaigning lobby will, in all probability, never be able to grasp the full consequences of their short-term mind set.

The High Court ruling has also highlighted the fact that Eight Kerry politicians ( TDs,Senators,an MEP and a sitting Cabinet Minister) attacked the democratic process by encouraging illegal interference with the decision of the independent energy regulator for a company registered in the tax-haven of the Cayman Islands in a deal which would have cost the Irish people one Billion Euros. The truth comes out in the end. The Energy Minister, Mr. Pat Rabbitte, had to remind them openly in the Dáil that he was being asked to "break the law", an act he refused to do.

We were told from the outset of our campaign to "follow the money". We learned that lip service is still only paid to what were our main concerns of safety, the environment and to strategic long-term planning of the entire Western Arc of the country. All of these have a monetary value but they are difficult to quantify and are easily fudged over by well-financed lobbyists. As an old Irish saying goes: "what's the price of the singing bird?". However, when decisions do not make sense even on a very narrow financial criteria such as a rise of one Billion Euros in energy prices, then the whole LNG plan is exposed for what it really is - a FRAUD.   

It is with no little irony that we note that Shannon LNG, a private non-state company, was able to benefit from the power of the Irish State to get compulsory purchase orders to build a gas pipeline over the private property of Irish people against their will (to their detriment and without any share in future profits) but then complains of foul play when the Irish Energy Regulator rules that they must contribute to the Irish gas network, just like everyone else.

Paddy Power
Shannon LNG Managing director Paddy Power was already  reported as saying that the "tariff could cost the company up to €75 million annually". This acceptance of a loss of a dominant market position represents a saving to the Irish consumer of up to €1 billion over 13 years. This does not even take into account any of the countless millions in losses that would occur from sterilisation of the Shannon Estuary for further port expansion due to shipping exclusion zones that would have to be put in place if the Shannon LNG project goes ahead. No LNG marine Risk Assessment has yet been conducted on the Shannon Estuary either to calculate the scale of sterilisation of the estuary that would occur.

Gordon Shearer gone
Meanwhile, following the decision by the CER against Shannon LNG's interests, Gordon Shearer, Senior Vice president of Hess Corporation at the time, who has admitted on record that the "tariff seriously compromises the project", has resigned as director of Shannon LNG to be replaced by New York-based attorney Nicholas Brountas. Brountas is also director of what was another failed LNG terminal proposal by Hess at Crown Landing in New Jersey. Mr Shearer, who was one of the main Hess advocates behind Hess LNG terminal projects in the USA and worldwide- all of which have so far failed - is no longer listed on the Hess Corporation website as holding any corporate position in the company.

We believe that Gordon Shearer's position had already become untenable because of his poor judgement on the Fall River LNG project in Massachusetts and because we felt he had tarnished the reputation of the LNG industry in general due to his total public disregard for the safety of people. We recall his laughter at an oral hearing into the Shannon LNG project in 2008 when affirming that he had indeed made the claim that an LNG accident would be the 'largest Roman candle in the world'.

Shannon LNG's accounts up to December 2012 show that Shannon LNG have spent €51 million on the project. However, there is no disclosure of directors' remuneration so it cannot be ascertained how much Gordon Shearer was paid before he resigned as director of Shannon LNG. From that €51 million we note that not one sod of earth has yet been turned on the site and an IPPC licence is still required from the EPA before any construction can begin. It would be interesting to know what or who they have spent the €51 million on to date.

Evidence-based decision-making

The widely-expected result has been warmly welcomed as a victory for evidence-based decision making , a process which does not pander to vested interests.

Our group had initially raised the interconnector pricing  issue directly and publicly with the Regulator over 5 years ago in October 2008 after it was first reported by Sunday Independent journalist Maeve Sheehan on August of that same year. The evidence-based decision by the Regulator followed a long decision-making process which was transparent, open, inclusive of all stakeholders, clearly defined and which had a clearly expressed commitment of reaching a decision supporting the common good.  Little did we realise though, that the Regulator would face a formidable foe in the guise of a concerted lobbying campaign of blatant political interference by Kerry-based politicians,  whose tentacles reached as far as the Government Cabinet Table.

Attack on the Democratic Process

As the Regulator's decision looked more and more likely to go against the interests of Shannon LNG, heavily-lobbied Kerry politicians of all shades started to play dirty.

They began openly campaigning for the Minister for Energy to illegally interfere with the independent Regulator's decision-making process.

For us, this was the most frightening moment, to realise that many of Kerry's politicians, in a frenzy of mob rule, could decide to commit a breach of the public trust placed on them by undermining the democratic process and by ignoring all the checks and balances that were in place in the system for a reason.

On February 20th 2012 Shannon LNG Managing director Paddy Power told Kerry County Council that Shannon Lng will walk away from its planned €1bn investment in the Ballylongford landbank unless the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) agrees to cut tariffs that could cost the gas company €75 million a year.”

Within days, six local Kerry deputies and senators - Arthur Spring (Labour), Brendan Griffin (Fine Gael), Martin Ferris (Sinn Fein), Tom Fleming (Independent), Ned O'Sullivan (Fianna Fáil) and Tom Sheahan (Fine Gael)  - had all spoken in the Dáil and Seanad calling on the Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte (Labour) to intervene with the Regulator's decision making process. 

Kerry MEP Seán Kelly of Fine Gael then threatened to challenge the CER decision at a European level.

The worst direct threats to the Regulator of all came from a sitting member of Cabinet, Jimmy Deenihan (Fine Gael), who stated to the Limerick Leader (see full article below) on May 21st 2011 “if we lose this project, there will be a major issue over the role of the regulator and how it was established”

Eventually Minister Pat Rabbitte would bring the politicians to their senses when he openly told the Dáil that   

“Deputy Griffin is asking me to break the law. I cannot do that”.


One reason we think they acted so disgracefully was because members of all the main parties did the same thing in a mob-like frenzy and their behaviour was not challenged in any meaningful way by the local media.  We are outraged that senior Kerry politicians in their attempts to interfere with the office of the Independent Energy Regulator  have brought the integrity of their office and the Oireachtas into serious disrepute. They have advanced the interests of a private company, not the public interest. They have behaved in a manner which is not consistent with their roles as public representatives and legislators. The financial impacts of the final CER decision will be enormous for years to come on gas consumers. It was and is crucial, to protect the independence of the Energy Regulator and to send a strong signal to members of Dáil Éireann that any illegal interference, illegal lobbying or peddling in influence with the CER will not be tolerated

Grid Access, the next battle

We also now put Hess and Shannon LNG on notice that there will be another long battle over queue jumping for grid access with their proposed power station next to their proposed LNG Terminal and that we will make sure that the grid-access issue is also highlighted, thoroughly examined using an evidence-based decision making process and that all Irish people are treated fairly.



Notes to the Editor:
1. Please read our previous press releases for more information.


Limerick Leader-May 21st 2011:

THERE are major fears over the future of a €600m gas - line project which could provide more than 450 jobs in Tarbert.

Although the Commission for Energy Regulation could rule on Shannon LNG’s plans for a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Shannon Estuary as early as September, a requirement to pay for gas Interconnectors the firm may not even use could see the company quitting the area. Sources close to Shannon LNG’s parent company Hess have indicated they may cut their losses here, and proceed with similar projects in the United Kingdom, if more problems are thrown in their way. The company wants to import frozen natural gas, mainly from the Middle East, and then process it in West Limerick/North Kerry. The pioneering technology could see the company supply 45 per cent of Ireland’s gas needs, with the pipe connected to the national grid. But since plans for the facility were unveiled in 2006, the project has been beset with delays - and in that time Shannon LNG has invested€50m in planning and preparation with no return.

Now, the company is believed to be considering cutting its losses here, with Arts Minister and Local TD Jimmy Deenihan set to hold crunch talks next week with the Commission for Energy Regulation. Taoiseach Enda Kenny is also acutely aware of the importance of this project, and will meet company representatives next month


The scheme is currently before the Commission for Energy Regulation. One of the major sticking points is whether Shannon LNG has to help fund two interconnnectors linking the estuary to Scotland.

The€50m annual cost of the pipeline’s operation is currently footed by its users Bord Gais, and Airtricity. Hess LNG does not believe it should have to pay towards Interconnectors it will not even be using.

Representatives of the firm have already met the regulator to state their case, and are in the process of preparing an official submission.

This could prove to be the one thing which could see the massive investment lost.

Minister Deenihan says if Tarbert misses out on the investment - which will create 400 jobs over an 18 month construction phase and then another 100 permanent jobs - the way the planning process in this country is going to require examining. To get to a stage where it can begin operation, Shannon LNG will have had to go through three planning processes: basic planning permission, a foreshore licence, and the approval of the energy regulator.

“If we lose this project, there will be a major issue over the role of the regulator and how it was established. You cannot lose a project with this kind of investment, in an area which has not seen investment for years. It just does not make sense. This is the only real tangible project I have seen for the Shannon Estuary since I came into politics nearly eight years ago No other company has spent €50m advancing their project and having a whole team working on it for the last five years,” Minister Deenihan told the Leader.

Asked if he thinks Shannon LNG should pay for Interconnectors which it will not even be using, he said: “I don’t think they should.” County Limerick TD Patrick O’Donovan said he thinks it is “unfair” the issue over whether Hess partly pays for the Interconnectors has been brought up now.

He called on the government to resist any instruction by the regulator to insist LNG pays for the Interconnectors. However, the regulator has to be seen to operate independently from political influence.

“I don’t think it is fair issues have been brought to the table that were not there while this project was being designed. It is unfair on the basis of the money which has been spent on the project so far and the commitment given by the company. If the agencies of the state are prepared to move the goalposts, I think it would be very unfair, and its something the government has to resist, ” Deputy O’ Donovan said.

He said the Shannon LNG project is the biggest development in the West since the advent of Aughinish Alumina over 30 years ago: “We are a small peripheral country at the end of a pipe which can be turned off at the drop of a hat. It is far too important to be tinkered around at the edges with. It needs to be delivered, and delivered in as short a time frame as possible.”

Deputy Dan Neville added: “It’s amazing the way our system works. The common good seems to take second place to procedures and bureaucracy. I can feel this frustration myself. Having thought things were going to plan, it’s now very frustrating to see this is not the case.”

A spokesperson for the Commission for Energy Regulation insisted they welcomed the LNG project, and stressed a final decision is due in September. “CER will seek to balance the interests of gas customers while at the same time, keeping Ireland as an attractive location for gas producers. It has to be considered whether these companies [LNG] will use the Interconnectors in the future or if the other suppliers will incur extra costs by paying for the Interconnectors, ” the spokesperson said.