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Corrib gas consultants apologise for omitting data on pipeline route

The Irish Times – Wednesday, July 28, 2010

LORNA SIGGINS Western Correspondent

CORRIB GAS project consultants have apologised for omitting material submitted to An Bord Pleanála as part of its new pipeline route application.

RPS Consultants have written to a number of appellants explaining that some data was omitted from the environmental impact statement.

An Bord Pleanála told The Irish Times yesterday that it was contacted by the consultants, and it believed at this stage it should not delay the resumed oral hearing, set for August 24th, into the last section of pipeline.

The consultants state that the “inadvertent administrative oversight” is “deeply regretted” and has been rectified. The material refers to habitat sheets, designated sites, bird figures and fauna figures. Some of it was in the documents, but misplaced, while the fauna figures were omitted altogether, according to RPS.

The material, which has been reissued, supports Shell E&P Ireland’s revised application to tunnel its last section of pipeline under Sruwaddacon estuary, a special area of conservation.

This last section will link the landfall at Glengad to Ballinaboy terminal.

The developers say it is 234m away from the nearest occupied house – almost three times the distance of the original route.

Shell has also applied to An Bord Pleanála for compulsory acquisition orders to 10 pieces of land at Glengad/Dooncarton, Aughoose and Bellagelly South, under section 40 of the Gas Act.

Pobal Chill Chomáin community group spokesman John Monaghan said he was “disappointed” this issue only came to light shortly before the final deadline for submissions to the board on the new application. Submissions must be with the board by today.

“This may be a genuine error, but the developers are always telling us that errors cannot happen,” Mr Monaghan said.

Up to half of a previous “modified” pipeline route was deemed by the board to be unacceptable on safety grounds, due to proximity to housing.

In a separate development, the Corrib gas partners, including Shell EP Ireland, have said responsibility for the Corrib gas field wells “has been clarified”.

It was commenting on e-mails leaked to the royaldutchshellplc.com website run by father and son Alfred and John Donovan, which indicate Shell staff concerns about there being “no clear ownership” of the Corrib wells.

Responsibility for subsea structures is a serious issue after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Corrib gas partners said the technical integrity of five Corrib well fields had been “regularly monitored and assured”.

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