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Is Cork’s new gasfield a bad sign for 2050 carbon neutrality goals?

With the Government committing to reach Carbon Neutrality by 2050 the development of a new gas field in Cork could seem questionable to some. 

Providence Resources PLC and Landsdowne Oil & Gas PLC have agreed a deal with Norwegian based resources company SpotOn Energy Ltd to fund, develop and produce the Barryroe Oil and Gas Field. 

Barryroe is an undeveloped oil and gas field south of Cork close to the Kinsale Head gas field at a depth of 100m. The deal with SpotOn involves the building of 4 wells for which planning is at an advanced stage with two well site locations already surveyed and a third location which is subject to Ministerial approval. Baryroe is considered one of the largest undeveloped oil and gas fields in northern Europe with 49445 million litres of oil and 5900 billion cubic litres of gas. 

Industry sources consider gas a critical fuel as a transitional energy source from oil and coal to underpin the stability of the Irish electricity network. This is particularly relevant in the case of gas due to concerns over energy security based on the current sources of imported gas into Ireland. Locally produced gas is obviously significantly attractive than importing oil or gas where transportation can contribute up to 30% of the energy being imported.

While gas may be required as a short-term solution to allow progress to be made towards decarbonising the Irish economy, how the production of large volumes of oil and gas in Cork will fit with recent Government commitments to carbon neutrality by 2050 remains to be seen. However given the precarious nature of shrinking indigenous gas reserves in Ireland the production of gas in the North Celtic Sea will be welcome news to gas customers in Ireland.

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