Plans for a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) at the Irish port of Cork will not go ahead after a preliminary deal signed in 2017 with US LNG developer NextDecade expired, officials said last week.

The FSRU could have served as an outlet for up to 3 million mt/year of supply from NextDecade’s proposed Rio Grande LNG export terminal in Texas.

When the memorandum of understanding reached with the Irish port was announced, NextDecade said it was in discussions with European energy companies to enter into long-term purchase contracts for delivery of LNG at the port.

Since then, NextDecade has pushed Rio Grande LNG’s schedule several times amid challenges securing long-term supply contracts, most recently in May 2020 when it said a final investment decision would occur in 2021.

Then, in November 2020, France’s Engie halted talks over a potential long-term supply agreement with NextDecade, amid pressure not to import LNG produced from shale gas. NextDecade said its commercial efforts are buoyed by recent price strength in international markets, and the developer maintains its current 2021 FID target.

The move is the latest setback for the prospect of LNG supplies to Ireland after the new Irish government last year set out its opposition to the import of LNG based on fracked natural gas from the US. The MOU with NextDecade expired at the end of 2020.

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18th January 2021