Gas Storage To Be Built Under Lough

A £440m gas storage facility is to be built a mile underneath Larne Lough.

The development will enable 500m cubic metres of natural gas to be stored in caverns underneath the lough.

The new bank will be able to hold enough gas to provide energy for Northern Ireland for sixty days. Consequently, it will decrease Northern Ireland’s dependency on foreign gas imports and will enable the government to reduce gas prices during inflation.

It will also enable the country to have access to gas in emergency situations, as Northern Ireland becomes increasingly dependent on wind power for its energy.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: "This security of supply of energy will be a significant step forward in the way we manage our energy sector. North Sea gas supplies are declining steeply and this facility will make a significant contribution to the security of gas supplies for the whole island of Ireland and indeed for Britain."

The Minister added: "I am very conscious that there are environmental concerns about this. However there has been an exhaustive consultation process and I am satisfied that that this proposal can obtain other relevant consents and proceed in a way that creates jobs and develops the economy whilst protecting the environment.

"We have demonstrated that energy, environmental and economic needs can be reconciled successfully. SeaGen, the birthplace of modern tidal energy sitting in the Narrows in the mouth of Strangford Lough proves this point. This approval can do the same."

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster welcomed the decision.

She said: "Natural gas is used to fuel two of Northern Ireland’s power stations and also by an increasing number of business and domestic energy consumers. As we currently have no natural gas storage facility this is a strategically important project as it will enhance our security of energy supply."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

23 April 2021
Whiteabbey Nightingale Rehabilitation Facility Stood Down
The Nightingale rehabilitation facility at Whiteabbey hospital is being stood down for Coronavirus patients, the Northern Trust has announced. The 100-bed facility opened last November as a "step down" hospital for people not ready to return home. It will now be used as a non-Covid enhanced rehabilitation unit.
12 April 2021
Nightingale Facility De-Escalated
The Nightingale facility at Belfast City Hospital has been de-escalated. The Belfast Health Trust described the move as a "significant milestone" in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. Patients with Covid will be treated at the Mater Hospital.
13 May 2008
Undersea Gas Storage Plan Revealed
Imaginative plans to store natural gas deep under Larne Lough look set to go ahead. If test bores carried out by two energy companies are successful, Northern Ireland Energy Holdings and Portland Gas hope to start storing gas there within a few years if their tests show the area to be suitable.
13 August 2014
'Preferred Applicants' For West Gas Project Announced
Northern Ireland Energy Holdings and Scotia Gas Networks have been selected as the 'preferred applicants' for a project to extend the gas network to the west of the region, including Dungannon, Coalisland, Cookstown, Magherafelt, Omagh, Strabane, Enniskillen, and Derrylin.
23 March 2010
Undersea Caves Gas Storage Plan Welcomed
Almost two years after the idea first emerged, the business behind a huge undersea gas storage facility off the coast of Northern Ireland is seeking planning permission.