The infrastructure of the old Kinsale Head Gas Field could be used for the importation of non-fracked Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) into Ireland, a new report has suggested.
The white paper by exploration company Mag Mell Energy Ireland envisages that two floating storage and regasification vessels would be moored beyond the 50km horizon off the Cork coast.
They would then be linked directly under the sea to the Kinsale Gas pipeline.
The firm suggests that imported LNG could then be brought back to its gas state on board the vessels and moved through the pipeline to shore.
There they would be transferred to the national grid connection point at Inch near Midleton.
The Kinsale Head Gas Field ceased production two years ago after its reserves became depleted.
According to Mag Mell as part of the decommissioning process all the equipment is to be removed from the terminal and the exposed ends of pipeline are to be plugged, making it redundant.
But Mag Mell claims the pipeline could be reused to secure energy supply for Ireland amid global insecurity and a threat of shortages arising from the war in Ukraine.
"Novel solutions are immediately required to bolster energy security, allowing society and the economy to function and grow," said Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Mag Mell which is owned by UK listed Predator Oil and Gas Holdings.
"Europe also needs the right transition fuel sources to achieve climate targets set out in the EU Green Deal."
"As we decouple from Russian fuels, Europe is urgently looking at alternatives to boost imports, particularly for LNG. This though is proving to be extremely difficult due to major infrastructural challenges."
A planning application for a €650m LNG terminal beside the Shannon estuary has been submitted by US energy firm, New Fortress Energy, to An Bord Pleanála.
A decision was due in March, but has been deferred until September.
However, the Minister for the Environment has said the terminal should not be permitted under any circumstances.
The Government has placed a moratorium on the use of fracked gas importation pending the outcome of an energy security review.
It wants Ireland to reduce its reliance on polluting fossil fuels, including gas, as part of its plan to meet its climate policy targets.
Around half of Ireland's electricity is currently produced using gas, while the fuel is also used for heating homes and businesses and for cooking.
Much of this gas is imported via interconnector from the UK, with some coming from the Corrib Gas field, which is currently depleting.
Gas generation is seen by many experts as an important tool in the transition to renewable energy as gas fired power stations can increase and decrease output quickly in keeping with fluctuating renewable energy production.