I propose to take Questions Nos. 386 and 391 together.
The Shannon LNG project is a private commercial project and any decisions on the future development of this project are matters for the project promoter. The project has been designated a “Project of Common Interest” on the previous three lists of Projects of Common Interest (i.e. it has been a "Project of Common Interest" since 2013).
EU Regulation 347/2013, which provides for the designation of a project of common interest, does not override the requirement to comply with environmental law or to obtain the necessary permits or consents. Final investment decisions for the Shannon LNG project and compliance with any legal and regulatory requirements in relation to consents or permits, including environmental assessment, are the responsibility of the project promoter. Decisions on consents for the construction of an LNG plant would be a matter for the relevant consenting authorities.
At the decision making body meeting in Brussels on 4 October 2019 Ireland maintained its position on the inclusion of the Shannon LNG Project on the 4th PCI list as it enhances our energy security by increasing import route diversity. While supporting the project, Ireland also asked the Commission whether the implications of importing LNG to the European Union, from conventional and unconventional fracked sources, have been examined in terms of a sustainable, secure and competitive European energy policy. We further stated that if this work has not been carried out, we believe that it should be undertaken at EU level.
I will only consider supporting any future applications for EU Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding for LNG projects after a security of supply review has been completed and considered by the Government and by the Dáil, and only if these projects are consistent with national and EU climate policy objectives.
The production, sourcing, buying and selling of natural gas produced outside this jurisdiction would also be an operational matter for the undertakings involved. Any undertaking would be required to comply with EU law in this area.
In relation to fracked gas in Ireland, the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Act 2017 provides for the prohibition of exploration for and extraction of onshore petroleum by means of hydraulic fracturing.