I don’t quite understand the ‘in your face’ attitude of Shell towards the Irish. I know that there is a bit of history between the Irish and the British, and as a consequence one would think Shell, being an Anglo/Dutch company, would be a little bit more diplomatic. Instead they seem to have treated the Irish like just another third world country. They corrupt the government, try to steal the resources, pay no taxes, and treat the people like crap. Shell is making no friends amongst the Irish and I suppose they don’t care as long as they can manipulate (buy off?) the government.
As a note of information about the Corrib project, the State of Alaska gets up to a 20% royalty on oil and gas produced from State lands. That is ‘off the top’, not after expenses, return of invested capital, etc. That royalty did NOT stop development of Prudhoe Bay, nor will it stop development of the gas reserves in Alaska. The State of Alaska has benefited immensely from the oil royalty revenues.
Gas has not been developed in Alaska because of the need to build a pipeline across Canada to the Northeast US. Until recently, gas prices weren’t anywhere great enough to justify the expense of such a pipeline. And then there is the political issue of digging a ditch across Canada to get the gas to the US. Two big issues. However, the development of the ‘tight shale’ and ‘coal bed methane’ deposits in the States may again kill the project. Gas prices aren’t sufficient to support the cost of such a project.
It seems to me that the Irish government should be able to collect a similar ‘off the top’ royalty from the Corrib gas. I seriously doubt that it would stop development of those reserves. Shell would squeal like a stuck pig, but so what. The Irish government need only look to Norway to see what responsible management of their country’s natural resources could do for them. The Irish people should insist upon it.
Attached is a link to the Alaska State Dept. of Natural Resources. You can find royalty payment assessment by going to the appropriate section. Royalties can be as high as 60%. The Irish should take note.
This a short fact sheet on the Federal Royalty system.