Kinsale Head gas field

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Kinsale Head gas field
Kinsale Gas Field Map.png
RegionCeltic Sea
OperatorsKinsale Energy Limited
Field history
Start of productionOctober 1978
Peak year1995[1]
AbandonmentJuly 2020
Peak of production (gas; billion cubic meters per year)2.8

The Kinsale Head gas field is a depleted offshore natural gas field in the Celtic Sea, located 50 km (31 mi) off the southern coast of County Cork, Ireland. Discovered in 1971[1][2] near the Old Head of Kinsale, it met Ireland's gas needs until 1996.[3] The gas field is located in a water depth of 100 metres and 1,000 metres below the seabed.[2]

The field extends over Blocks 49/16, 48/20, 48/25, 49/21. The reservoir is a Lower Cretaceous sandstone (Wealden and Greensand) lying at a depth of 2,700 to 3,100 feet. The gas composition was >99% methane with a calorific value of 1.012 Btu/ cubic foot.[4]

Operator Kinsale Energy Limited extracted its last commercial quantity of gas on 5 July 2020, after which they ceased production. Decommissioning works began immediately afterwards and are expected to conclude in 2023.[5] These works will include the removal of both platforms.[6] During its 42 years in operation, the Kinsale gas field produced an estimated 2 trillion cubic feet (57 billion cubic metres) of natural gas.[7]

A floating wind turbine project is under development for the area.[8]


Marathon Oil's Irish subsidiary Marathon Petroleum Ireland Ltd., started exploring for oil off the south coast of Ireland and in 1971 instead of finding oil, gas was found off the Old Head of Kinsale by the drill ship Glomar North Sea.[2] The discovery was confirmed as being commercially viable. Bord Gáis Éireann was established in 1975 and confirmed by the Oireachtas in 1976 under The Gas Act (1976) as the supplier and distributor of gas in Ireland.[9] Gas came on stream in 1978.[3]

The field has was developed through two offshore installations.[4]

Kinsale offshore installations
Platform Block Coordinates Function Type Legs Well slots Installed Production start Production capacity Production to
Kinsale A 49/16 51°22’15”N 07°56’43”W Drilling, processing and accommodation Steel jacket 8 9 (7 used) April 1977 October 1978 180 MMSCFD Inch Beach via 35-mile 24-inch pipeline
Kinsale B 48/20 51°21’39”N 08°00’56”W Drilling, processing and accommodation Steel jacket 8 9 (7 used) May 1977 November 1979 90 MMSCFD Kinsale A via 3-mile 24-inch pipeline

The process plant comprises a gas/liquid separator, gas is dehydrated in a glycol dehydrator.[4]

Production of gas (in million cubic feet) was:[4]

Peak production occurred in 1995.

In 2008, the gas field was proposed as a potential place for the purpose of carbon dioxide capture and storage.[10]

A number of small fields now feed the Kinsale Head platforms including Ballycotton (discovered 1991), Southwest Kinsale (1999) and Seven Heads (2003). Southwest Kinsale was later used for gas storage, primarily for the winter months.[1] These subsea completions are summarized in the following table.[11]

Kinsale subsea completions
Name Location Coordinates Water depth No. of wellheads Production start Production to
Ballycotton 48/20 51.45194N 8.12456W 87 m 1 1991 Kinsale Head Bravo
South West Kinsale 48/25 50.32711N 8.09843W 93 m 3 2001 Kinsale Head Bravo
Greensand 48/25 51.32642N 8.09909W 93 m 1 2003 Kinsale Head Bravo
Seven Heads 48/24 51.1968N 8.33418W 93 m 5 2003 Kinsale Head Alpha

Petronas acquired Marathon's Irish operation in 2009. The nearby discovery at Barryroe is controlled by Providence Resources.[12]


  1. ^ a b c "Our History". Kinsale Energy. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Gas and the Environment: Irish Natural Gas Market". Bord Gáis. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Ireland: North West Europe". Energy Files. Archived from the original on 7 July 2020. Retrieved 7 October 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d Oilfield Publications Limited (1985). The North Sea Platform Guide. Ledbury UK: Oilfield Publications Limited. pp. 411–16.
  5. ^ "Decommissioning". Kinsale Energy. Archived from the original on 25 June 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  6. ^ English, Eoin (3 March 2020). "Kinsale Head gas field to be decommissioned". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  7. ^ O'Dwyer, Sarah (9 July 2020). "Kinsale operation shuts down after producing two trillion cubic feet of gas". The Echo. Archived from the original on 26 January 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  8. ^ Snieckus, Darius (27 January 2021). "'21st century Ardnacrusha' - Shell takes majority stake in Irish floating wind megaproject". Recharge News. NHST Global Publications AS. Archived from the original on 12 February 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  9. ^ "About Bord Gáis: 1970's". Bord Gáis. Archived from the original on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  10. ^ O'Keeffe, Mary (18 September 2008). "Kinsale gas field to be used for carbon storage". Cork Independent. Archived from the original on 28 June 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  11. ^ "Decommissioning Plan - Kinsale Head Petroleum Lease (OPL 1) - Consent Application No.1" (PDF). PSE Kinsale Energy Limited. 12 June 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 June 2021. Retrieved 11 October 2021.
  12. ^ "Providence acquires 40% stake in Kinsale Head gas field". Landmark Digital Ltd. 15 September 2009. Archived from the original on 25 December 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2020.

Coordinates: 50°30′08″N 7°54′52″W / 50.5022°N 7.9144°W / 50.5022; -7.9144