Islandmagee Gas Storage Project December 2019 Consultation ML 28_12

Consultation opened on 20 December 2019. Closing date 07 February 2020 at 17:00.


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has authority for marine licensing under Part 4 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. Formerly, this role was held by the Department of Environment before the departmental re-structure within Northern Ireland in 2016.


Consultation description

Islandmagee Storage Limited (now called Islandmagee Energy Limited) previously submitted an application for a marine licence on 22th October 2012. A previous public consultation on the marine licence application was undertaken in 2012/2013.

The project fell dormant between 2014 and 2018 and due to time elapsed since the original application DAERA requested updates to be submitted and has undertaken to run a second public consultation.

Licences for both the abstraction of seawater and discharge of solution mining brine were issued by Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) on 14th November 2014. Both of these consents will be reviewed in early 2020.

Planning permission for terrestrial works was granted on 18 October 2012 (F/2010/0092/F).

The project is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Project description

The application proposes the creation of 7 underground caverns by solution mining below Larne Lough, which would be used for the storage of natural gas. The application includes the associated marine infrastructure to enable seawater abstraction and the subsequent discharge of brine from the creation of the caverns by solution mining.

The Islandmagee Gas Storage Project; comprises the construction by solution mining of seven underground caverns in the Permian salt strata approximately 1,700m below Larne Lough, off Islandmagee, County Antrim.

The project includes the design and construction of a surface brine pumping facility, a gas compression facility, associated gas pipelines, a brine and seawater pipeline and associated infrastructure.

The components of the Project which are subject to a Marine Licence application are limited to:

  1. the boreholes and subsurface caverns to be leached
  2. the seawater intake structure and
  3. the brine discharge pipeline.

The solution mining will start with the drilling of the first of seven boreholes to a depth of approx. 1,700 metres. These will each take approximately one month to drill. A single drilling rig will be used on a 24/7 basis, with the rig moved from one completed well to the next. Each completed well will be capped with a well-head and will have concentric leaching strings inserted ready for the introduction of the seawater. The well-heads and well pad will be located onshore although the boreholes will be directionally drilled out under Larne Lough to the positions where the caverns will be constructed.

The solution mining will involve the pumping of sea water into each borehole as it is completed to leach (dissolve) the salt to form the void of each cavern. The returning concentrated brine solution is withdrawn and is pumped along the brine discharge pipeline to an outfall discharge point in the North Channel.

The abstraction of seawater and discharge of material from the cavern construction (brine) is regulated by NIEA’s Resource Efficiency Division.

Documents may be viewed during the Public consultation period at all reasonable hours by appointment at the address below.

Ways to respond

Email -
Write to -
Marine Licensing Team,
Marine and Fisheries Division,
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs,
1st Floor,
Klondyke Building,
Cromac Avenue,
Belfast, BT7 2JA

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