Gas Networks Ireland acknowledges key role of Kinsale gas fields

The final commercial volumes of indigenous Irish gas flowed through the Inch terminal in County Cork last week as PSE Kinsale Energy Limited (KEL) ceased production after 42 years of service and almost two trillion cubic feet of natural gas – double the original reserve estimate.

Ireland’s only indigenous source of natural gas until 2015, KEL has been producing natural gas from its facilities off the Old Head of Kinsale since 1978, with Ballycotton (1991), Southwest Kinsale (1999) and Seven Heads (2003) coming into production later. The South West Kinsale reservoir was repurposed to act as a storage facility from 2006 to 2017 allowing gas to be taken from the onshore network in periods of low demand and prices and pumped back to the onshore network in periods of high demand and prices.

In April 2018, the company announced that reserves at the Kinsale Gas Field were depleting and all necessary measures are being undertaken to safely decommission the site. Gas Networks Ireland Managing Director, Denis O’Sullivan, acknowledged the important role the Kinsale Area Gas Fields have played in powering and heating the nation.

“The Kinsale Area Gas Fields have played a key role in the supply of natural gas to Ireland since 1978, delivering all of Ireland’s natural gas from 1978 to 1995. They were Ireland’s only indigenous source of natural gas until 2015, when Corrib was connected to the network,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“The Kinsale Gas Fields have been a key source of employment and contributed significantly to the economy, both regionally and nationally. They played a key role in Ireland’s energy needs across homes, businesses and electricity generation, and enabled the development of a national gas network that now supplies over 700,000 customers across the country.

“We have always had a strong working relationship with PSE Kinsale Energy Limited, most recently under the management of CEO Fergal Murphy. We acknowledge the key role Kinsale Energy has played for Cork and for Ireland and wish Fergal and his team continued success as they move to this new phase.”

The closure of Kinsale leaves the Corrib Gas Field, off the coast of County Mayo, as Ireland’s only indigenous natural gas source on the network, with the remainder of the natural gas supplied via the Interconnectors from Moffat, Scotland.

Gas Networks Ireland recently commissioned the network’s first indigenous renewable gas entry point in Cush, Co. Kildare. It is envisaged that the volume of renewable gas on the network will increase significantly over the coming years and replace natural gas.