September 25 -- Ireland and the United Kingdom have formally endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) designed to safeguard the continuity of natural gas supply in case of disruptions.
The primary aim of this MoU is to fortify existing procedures and foster closer collaboration between both nations and their respective departments to ensure the reliability of natural gas supply. It outlines the specific ways in which the UK and Ireland will cooperate in the event of a reduction or interruption in the supply.
Reported by RTE, this MoU stems from concerns that arose last year, highlighting the possibility of Ireland facing a gas supply cut if the UK encountered shortages.
Natural gas accounts for over 30% of Ireland's energy needs, including half of its electricity generation.
The majority of Ireland's natural gas is currently sourced from the UK, a dependency expected to rise to nearly 90% by 2030 due to declining production from Ireland's Corrib gas field.
In line with Ireland's commitment to achieving net-zero emissions, further fossil fuel extraction is prohibited, and nuclear power generation is also not permitted.
Ireland presently lacks infrastructure for the import and storage of liquefied natural gas (LNG), with such proposals facing opposition from environmentalists who argue that they would increase reliance on fossil fuels, advocating for alternatives to fracking for natural gas.
The Irish and UK governments also signed an MoU to increase cooperation on developing offshore renewable energy and exploring electricity interconnection avenues.
UK Energy Security Secretary Claire Coutinho said: "As two nations committed to boosting energy resilience and reaching net-zero, today marks a historic moment for the UK and Ireland, as we work more closely together to achieve our shared energy goals.
"Today’s landmark agreements will see us deepen our energy partnership with Ireland, to deliver cheaper, cleaner and more secure energy to our homes and businesses, and grow our economies."
Ireland Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan said: "In future most of our energy needs will be met by renewable electricity, but as we transition natural gas will play a crucial backup role in Ireland’s energy system.
“I welcome the opportunity to reaffirm and strengthen the well-established arrangements and engagement with the UK as we work to enhance the security of energy supply in parallel to decarbonising our economy."