Bechtel to rethink Ireland’s Shannon Foynes Port expansion

US engineer Bechtel has been hired to update the nine-year-old development masterplan of Ireland’s Shannon Foynes Port to include offshore wind construction support and the production of alternative fuels such as hydrogen, as well as expanding the port’s cargo-handling capacity.

Located at Ireland’s deepest sheltered commercial harbour on the west coast’s Shannon Estuary, the port is Ireland’s second biggest, with capacity to handle 10 million tonnes a year.

The expansion, including a new kilometre-long dock and up to 1,200 hectares of adjacent development, will double that to 20 million.

Bechtel will update the port’s “Vision 2041” forward plan, developed nine years ago, so that the port can help the burgeoning offshore wind industry as Ireland shoots for its target of generating 20GW of offshore wind by 2050.

Expanded facilities would also include hydrogen and ammonia production for possible export.

Shannon Foynes Port plans follow similar plans announced last month by Rosslare port on the country’s southeast coast. (See further reading.)

“Nine years ago, Vision 2041 was considered a very ambitious masterplan, yet we have since met all the higher-end growth targets identified for the interim period,” said Patrick Keating, chief executive of operating company, Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC).

“In it we also identified the opportunity ahead for what were then only emerging sectors, such as offshore renewables. The Estuary is now viewed … internationally as an emerging renewable energy supply-chain hub. In addition, there is the complementary growth potential for the estuary as a major logistics centre.”

He added: “This is a critical moment for us and we are delighted to have Bechtel supporting us.”

John Williams, Bechtel’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, said: “There is an increasingly strong case for investing in port infrastructure to support the growth in offshore wind, and the importance of creating local supply chains cannot be underestimated.

“Ports act as focal points during the manufacturing, installation, and operation of offshore wind farms, and Shannon Foynes is strategically ideal to support Ireland’s offshore wind industry, as well as expand to play an even greater role in European shipping. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Shannon Foynes Port Company on their materplan update.”

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