US New Fortress Energy awaits February 15 Irish court ruling on Shannon LNG project

Tuesday, 12 February 2019
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New Fortress Energy, a US company seeking to develop the Shannon LNG import project in the southwest corner of the Republic of Ireland, is expecting an Irish High Court ruling on February 15 on whether the venture can go ahead in its present form.

The company, which started the first LNG import terminal at Montego Bay in the Caribbean nation of Jamaica, is now expanding to gain a foothold in Europe.

The Irish court ruling is likely to determine whether New Fortress can proceed to build the plant or whether it will have to apply for a new planning permission or abandon its plans altogether.

If Shannon LNG goes ahead, the project would support 400 construction jobs and dozens of full-time positions when operations begin.

The terminal project could begin operations as early as 2020 or 2021.

The project was first granted planning permission in 2008 but has been affected by delays. Its supporters believe a positive court ruling would help revitalise the economy of North Kerry, though environmentalists have expressed opposition.

The Irish environmentalists are opposed to the importing of US LNG cargoes as they are against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for shale-gas in America.

New Fortress itself became a listed company in the US at the end of January 2019.

The company conducted an initial public offering and raised more than $280 million in the sale of shares to investors as it listed on the Nasdaq global exchange.

New Fortress sold 20 million shares at $14.00 each, which was below earlier price indications. The shares were last trading on February 12 at $14.06 each.

New Fortress last year entered into an agreement to buy Shannon LNG, a project company that owns the rights to develop and operate the terminal and a combined heat and power plant on the Shannon estuary near Ballylongford.

New Fortress was co-founded by Wes Edens, who started the private equity company Fortress Investment and who has retained a majority stake after the Nasdaq listing.

Edens is the co-owner of two sports franchises, the US Milwaukee Bucks basketball team and UK’s Aston Villa Football Club.

His company is looking at two other LNG projects in the Caribbean, in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, as well as one in Mexico.

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