PSE Kinsale Energy Applies To Leave Gas Pipelines Lying On The Seabed

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PSE Kinsale Energy Applies To Leave Gas Pipelines Lying On The Seabed

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Cork on the map of Ireland and the Celtic Sea (© Shutterstock/Zarko Prusac)
Cork on the map of Ireland and the Celtic Sea (© Shutterstock/Zarko Prusac)

Kinsale gas field’s owner, PSE Kinsale Energy sent an application seeking government approval to leave its gas pipelines in their wells as part of their decommissioning program following gas supplies depletion in the Celtic Sea. The depletion leading to a permanent halt in gas production from the Kinsale fields on July 5, 2020, Irish Examiner reported on Sunday, October 17, 2021.

In their application to the Minister of the Environment, Climate, and Communications, Eamon Ryan, the Petronas’s owned company sought to leave all its pipeline networks that were previously serving Southwest Kinsale, Seven Heads, Kinsale Head, and Ballycotton in situ.

The Kinsale gas fields, which supplied for all Ireland’s gas need from 1978 to 1995 are geographically located off the coast of Co Cork, 40 and 70 kilometers apart, in a dept of about 100 meters. The pipeline network includes an export pipeline with a diameter of 24 inches connecting Kinsale Alpha platform to the onshore facility based at Inch, Co Cork.

While the company considered its previous plan to re-use the pipelines and other related infrastructure in the Kinsale fields for Carbon dioxide storage, hydrocarbon production, and production of wind energy as not practically feasible, leaving the pipelines in situ could allow their use in the future as conduit for electricity cables used by a wind farm or fiber optics, the company said.

The initial planning permission requires PSE Kinsale Energy to completely remove the onshore gas metering terminal located in Inch, and get the land restored for agricultural uses. Kinsale Energy has also sought permission to get rock berms installed around the pipes to prevent snagging hazards to fishing vessels.

The decommissioning project expected to be completed in 2023 involves the removal of two gigantic steel platforms, plugging of 19 wells, and removal of other underwater infrastructure associated with the gas supply and storage in the fields. The entire project will entail the removal of approximately 37,300 tonnes of concrete, steel, among other materials.

According to the company’s overall project’s environmental impact assessment, the decommissioning of the gas fields “would not result in significant adverse effects on the environment, other users or population and human health.”

Meanwhile, the ESB, a State-owned energy company has begun examining Kinsale Head gas field, one of the depleted Kinsale gas fields to ascertain its potential to store high volumes of green hydrogen. ESB has partnered with a private firm, which is funded by dCarbonX, and O’Reill to support production of hydrogen gas by utilizing excess renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gas.

With the skyrocketing use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel across many sectors, including power backup generation stations, using the abandoned gas fields to produce and store clean hydrogen is a step towards a global green fuel revolution.

Apart from the ESB prospect of re-using the gas fields, Ervia is also conducting feasibility studies into possible use of Kinsale gas fields for capturing and storing carbon dioxide.

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