Cross-border dairy co-op LacPatrick Dairies has announced that it is already deriving business benefits a year on from using natural gas for the first time at its multimillion pound milk processing plant in Artigarvan.
LacPatrick’s £30m dairy technology centre was connected to natural gas in 2017 as part of a major investment providing the capacity to process milk in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The dairy co-op, with operations in counties Monaghan, Tyrone and Derry/ Londonderry, was the first customer connected by SGN Natural Gas which is currently extending its new natural gas network into eight towns in Counties Tyrone, Fermanagh and Derry.
The new gas supply was a key element of a larger investment at LacPatrick which makes butter, liquid milk, cheese and powders at its state-of-the-art plant located near Strabane.
LacPatrick has operations in Artigarvan, Ballyrashane and Monaghan, and processes over 600m litres of milk from more than 1,000 farmers in Northern Ireland and the Republic. Market-leading powders are exported to countries including west Africa.
Reflecting on the new energy success story at LacPatrick, SGN Natural Gas Director Danny O’Malley said: “This connection marked a significant milestone in the development of the SGN Natural Gas network project which will ultimately bring natural gas to thousands of homes and businesses in eight key towns in the west of Northern Ireland.
“A year on from switching to natural gas, LacPatrick is already seeing the benefits for the business including a reduction in its energy costs. This long established local employer is leading the way for continued success competing in international export markets, all fuelled by natural gas.”
Mr O’Malley added: “Natural gas is not only reliable and convenient, it is the cleanest fossil fuel bringing benefits which include helping businesses grow while reducing their carbon footprint.”
Gabriel D’Arcy, Chief Executive of LacPatrick, said reducing energy costs was a key factor in the co-op’s decision to invest £30m at the LacPatrick state-of-the-art facility at Strabane.
He added: “We are happy that a year on our vision is already being realised and we are looking forward to maximising our cost efficiencies by using natural gas in the years ahead. It plays a critical role in LacPatrick being able to pass on all savings and returns from the market to our suppliers.”
Around 2,000 homes and businesses in Strabane currently have access to natural gas and connections are well underway across the town.