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Shell seeks permission to operate Corrib gas pipeline

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by Joe Leogue: Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Shell Ireland has officially applied to the Government for permission to operate the controversial pipeline from the Corrib gas field off the coast of Mayo.

The application is the first to be made under the Gas Act since the completion of its construction.

The pipeline is a joint venture by the Corrib Gas Partners which comprises Shell E&P Ireland Limited, Statoil, and Vermillion.

The application was sent to Minister for Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources Alex White on Tuesday, August 18.

In a letter sent to Mr White, Gerry Costello, the regulatory affairs manager with Shell, said the construction of the pipeline from Corrib to a gas terminal at Bellanaboy Bridge in Mayo had been completed and the company was seeking permission to operate the infrastructure.

“As all of the elements of the Corrib gas field development are in an advanced state of readiness to commence commercial production, we urge the prompt processing of this application,” Mr Costello wrote.

Shell has submitted an Environmental Impact Statement, a Natura Impact Screening Statement, and other surveys as part of the application.

Members of the public have until September 25 to make written submissions or objections to the application which can be read along with the associated submitted documents on corribgaspipeline.com.

The gas pipeline is approximately 91.7km long and follows an 83km offshore route from the Corrib gas field to a landfall in Broadhaven Bay off Mayo.

The onshore pipeline route traverses the headland at Glengad, and from there follows an 8km route southeast to the Bellanaboy Bridge terminal site.

The application follows years of controversy surrounding the project.

Local fishermen raised concerns about the impact of the discharge pipe from the terminal, while homeowners objected to the proximity of the proposed refinery.

In 2005, Shell took court action restricting protestors from accessing its Rossport compound.

Five protesters had been jailed for contempt of court for refusing to obey an injunction forbidding them from interfering with Shell’s work in the area.

An Bord Pleanála granted Shell permission to build the pipeline in 2011, having previously ruled the original route of the fixture was “unacceptable”.

The Environmental Impact Statement for the onshore pipe submitted with last week’s application was compiled by engineering and environmental consultancy firm RPS.

It concluded the onshore pipeline “will not have a significant residual impact on the human, natural, or cultural heritage of the area in the long term”.

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