Irish authorities working on combined tariff for natural gas storage

13 January 2014 17:25 Source:ICIS

The Irish natural gas regulatory authorities want to introduce a combined entry-exit tariff from the Moffat point in Scotland by 2015 to make the use of Irish storage facilities more attractive to NBP shippers, they said on Friday.

The Republic’s Commission of Energy Regulation (CER) and Northern Ireland’s Utility Regulator plan to report on their progress at coming up with a way to reduce or eliminate regulatory barriers for cross-border use of storage facilities on the island of Ireland by May 2014.

The single tariff regime would be set on an all-island basis. It would allow shippers to bring gas into an Irish storage facility through Moffat and return it virtually. If the authorities do come up with a single tariff, it will further align the Irish market to the British hub.

Ireland is connected to Britain via the Scotland-Northern Ireland Pipeline and two interconnectors beaching in the Republic. The island depends on imports from Britain for 92-95% of its gas needs. This should change in 2015 when the Corrib gas field is slated to come online.

But the island only has one operational storage site, located offshore from Kinsale in the south. The operator of the 230 million cubic metres (mcm) site, PSE Kinsale Energy, is looking into the commercial feasibility of the expanding the site ( see ESGM 15 August 2013 ).

But PSE has also told the CER that as gas production in the Kinsale region declines, the storage facility will lose economic viability. This could see the site wound down from 2017/18.

Storage developer InfraStrata plans to open the 500mcm Isalandmagee storage site in Northern Ireland by 2018 ( see ESGM 28 October 2013 ). Fionn O’Raghallaigh

By Fionn O'Raghallaigh