Northern Ireland energy firm buys AES oil terminal in big budget deal
Northern Ireland energy company LCC Group has bought a terminal on Belfast Lough from AES Power in a multi-million pound deal.
The purchase of Cloghan Point Oil Terminal by the family company, which is based in Cookstown, could lead to energy savings for businesses and consumers.
LCC, owners of the Go chain of petrol stations, said it plans to spend £15m on improving the facility so that 120,000-tonne tankers will be able to dock at it.
That would make it the only commercial terminal in Ireland with such a large capacity.
Economist John Simpson said the purchase of the Belfast Lough terminal close to Carrickfergus signalled that the firm had its sights set on expansion.
"They're an ambitious firm and have been growing steadily in recent years. They have become a significant part of the oil and heating oil distribution sector."
He said their plans to increase capacity would enable the company to import at bulk oil prices and potentially sell on at lower prices.
The terminal was opened by NIE to supply Kilroot and Ballylumford Power Stations, and later refurbished by subsequent owner AES.
LCC Group director Daniel Loughran said: "This is an exciting acquisition for LCC Group as we add to our growing portfolio of energy infrastructure assets.
"We were attracted to Cloghan Point because of its sheer scale in both storage capacity and, with a 17 metre draft of water, we will soon be able to bring in larger tankers from around the world, including the US, the Middle East and South America.
"This hasn't been possible to date, so the local market has been limited in where it can source oil."
The LCC Group was set up by the Loughran family in 1980.
It began as a supplier of domestic coal to homes, but now supplies coal, oil, electricity, natural gas and logistical freight services to homes across the UK and industry all over the world.
Mr Loughran added: "Being able to dock vessels of this size will bring significant benefits to consumers and industry in the long run, as the increase in supply logistics and efficiencies should lead to a reduction in price that can be passed on to the end user."
It's now working with Taggart Design & Project Design Engineers on plans to improve the infrastructure of the terminal.
In October, LCC became sole owner of the Maydown oil terminal in Co Londonderry after buying out its joint venture partner Norwegian oil giant Statoil ASA.