Irish Natural Gas Market
Natural gas was first brought ashore to Ireland in 1976. Exploration ships
started searching for oil off the south coast of Ireland in the Celtic Sea in
the late 1960s. In 1971 one ship - the Glomar North Sea - failed to find oil,
but instead discovered Ireland's first indigenous reserve of natural gas.
The natural gas field, named the Kinsale Head Gas Field, was situated under 300ft/100m of water and 3,000ft/1,000m below the seabed. The Glomar North Sea was replaced with an exploration rig, which took two years to establish whether the find was commercially viable. Once a decision was reached to bring the gas ashore, two permanent gas platforms were then set up to pump the gas through a sub-sea pipeline to Inch in County Cork.
Bord Gáis was then established by the State in 1976 and under the Gas Act, charged with the responsibility for the supply, transmission and distribution of natural gas.
In 1993, Bord Gáis built the first Irish sub-sea gas interconnector pipeline from Loughshinny, in North County Dublin, to Moffat in Southwest Scotland for the purposes of importing additional supplies from around the world. 2002 saw the successful completion of Pipeline to the West from Dublin to Galway and the Second Interconnector (IC2) pipeline, from Gormanston in County Meath to Moffat in Southwest Scotland, two of the largest infrastructure projects completed in the State in recent years.
Since Bord Gáis was established the growth in demand for natural gas has increased year on year. To date over 500,000 customers, including residential, industrial and commercial users now avail of this efficient, convenient and environmentally friendly energy source.
The Kinsale Head Gas Field and satellite fields off the south coast of Ireland currently provide 15% of Irish natural gas demand however this is expected to decline over the next few years. Future indigenous production is likely to come from the Seven Heads Field, a satellite field of Kinsale, and the Corrib field, located off the West Coast of Ireland. Despite these recent finds of indigenous gas fields the Irish gas market will continue to be dependent on the importation of natural gas through the European natural gas network.