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EPA is prosecuting Shell over Corrib gas flaring incident

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Lorna Siggins: 6 July 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is prosecuting Shell E&P Ireland for breaching its emissions license at the Corrib gas refinery in north Mayo.

A summons was issued by the EPA late last week, The Irish Times has learned.

The prosecution relates to the EPA’s six-month investigation into an intense flaring incident at the refinery on December 31st, 2015.

Residents who had experience of test flaring over the past year had described as “frightening” the activity, which lasted for about 30 to 40 minutes, from about 8.15pm on New Year’s Eve.

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Concern over increasing frequency of Corrib Gas Flaring

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By John Donovan

A gas flaring event is the burning off of flammable gas released by pressure relief valves as a protection and safety measure during unplanned over-pressuring of plant equipment.

The attached authentic Shell document lists over 260 gas flaring events that have already taken place at the new Bellanaboy Bridge Gas Terminal.

It is noticeable that the unplanned events appear to be increasing, rather than declining e.g. 58 gas flaring events were recorded in just 9 days in January 2016. 

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Corrib Gas: local residents query intense flaring at Ballinaboy

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Lorna Siggins: 18 FEB 2016

The Government is seeking tenders to monitor the Corrib gas pipeline on behalf of the Department of Energy.

The monitoring will require spot checks of the high pressure pipeline carrying gas from the Corrib field to an inland refinery and its shore valve, according to details published this week on the eTenders website.

The contract is initially for two years only, and will involve weekly reports to the department and answering any queries that the public may have about the project.

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Corrib Gas: Was it worth it? Yes.

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Corrib Gas: Was it worth it? Yes.

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Brendan Cafferty: 27 JAN 2016

As the gas starts to flow a member of the pro gas lobby reflects on the controversy

Who is to blame for the delay?

The gas was due ashore in 2002 at a cost of €800 million. It finally arrives at the start of 2016 at a cost of €3.5 billion-€4 billion. Planning such a huge project was, of course, protracted, with EPA and An Bord Pleanála hearings. Kevin Moore, the board’s planning inspector, did at the outset recommend that planning not be granted for the terminal at Ballinaboy, but the board of An Bord Pleanála did not agree with him – something that is not unusual.

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Corrib gas a ‘template’ for ‘how not to undertake a development’

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Lorna Siggins: 26 JAN 2016

The Corrib gas project is a template for “how not to undertake a development”, according to a new planning approach published by the British Institution of Civil Engineers.

Although the gas project has secured its final Government approval from Minister for Energy Alex White, the prospect of further legal challenges and the large Garda presence at an “invitation-only” opening reflects the fact that it still does not have community consent.

Two of the report’s four authors say that had both Shell and Government agencies adopted a more democratic approach, they could have avoided cost overruns, including “the loss of at least €600 million loss to the tax payer”, and could also have “avoided the serious ensuing conflict with the local community”.

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20 years after gas discovery, Corrib opens in north Mayo

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Lorna Siggins: 24 JAN 2016

The €3.5 billion Corrib gas development is due to be opened by Minister of State for Natural Resources Joe McHugh on Monday, almost 20 years after the gas discovery was reported off the north Mayo coast.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny had been earmarked for the invitation-only event, but will be at Downing Street in London. Corrib shareholders Shell, Statoil and Vermillion are hosting a plaque unveiling and lunch in Belmullet, almost 15km from the gas refinery.

While much of the town’s focus is currently on sale of the €13.7 million winning Lotto ticket in Carey’s newsagent, the project opening represents a significant milestone.

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Ruairí McKiernan: Corrib gas protesters did State some service

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…many of those involved have been ridiculed, slandered, spied on, harassed, beaten and jailed – all for upholding their democratic right to peaceful dissent. Incidents included the 2005 jailing of the Rossport Five, who spent 94 days in prison at the behest of Shell.

Ruairí McKiernan

As gas is flared into the skies above north Mayo, it is worth reflecting on a project that has been one of modern Ireland’s greatest scandals, a stunning fiasco in planning, economics, environmental protection and the abuse of civil liberties.

Far from it being just about energy supply, jobs and development, the Corrib gas project cuts to the core of this republic and asks big questions about how the country is run.

For more than 10 years now, campaigners have attempted to highlight the project’s many flaws.

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EPA investigating gas flaring levels at Corrib gas project

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Shell acknowledged that the flaring was “exceptional” on December 31st, and has promised to “take all measures” to minimise further occurrences…

Lorna Siggins: Mon 4 Jan 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it is investigating the intense flaring of gas at the Corrib gas plant which alarmed north Mayo residents on New Year’s Eve.

The EPA has confirmed it is “liaising and will continue to liaise with the licensee, Shell E&P Ireland Ltd regarding the operation of the flare”.

It says under the project’s emissions licence conditions, flaring can only be used “for safety reasons or for non-routine operational conditions”.

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Gas flaring at Corrib plant ‘frightening’, says resident

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 22.40.21Lorna Siggins: Friday 1st January 2016

Residents living close to the Corrib gas plant in north Mayo have expressed alarm over the intensity of gas flaring during New Year’s Eve.

Shell E&P Ireland acknowledged on Friday evening that the flaring level was “exceptional”.

“As the start up process continues, there may be further intermittent flaring activity in the coming days,” it said.

“This will not be at the same level and we will take all measures to minimise any flaring occurrences,” it said.

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Natural gas begins flowing from controversial Corrib field

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Peter Murtagh: 30 Dec 2015

Natural gas is flowing into the national supply grid from the Corrib gas field off Co Mayo for the first time since it was discovered in 1996.

One of six wellheads, drilled in 350m of water 84km off the west coast, was opened on Wednesday by the field developer, Shell E&P Ireland.

This started gas flowing through a 20 inch diameter off-shore pipeline to an 8.3km-long on-shore pipeline, which includes a 4.9km tunnel beneath Sruwaddacon Bay, the longest in Ireland.

It continues from there into the company’s reception terminal at Ballanaboy, near Belmullet in Co Mayo.

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Shell granted permission for Corrib gas project

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Tue, Dec 29, 2015

Minister for Energy Alex White has given final approval for the Corrib gas project, almost 20 years after the discovery of the gas field off the Mayo coastline.

Mr White has issued Shell E&P Ireland with consent to operate the Corrib natural gas pipeline, linking the subsea gas facilities 83km offshore to the onshore refinery at Ballinaboy.

The consent is subject to 20 conditions relating to “environmental management, operation, control and monitoring”, Mr White said in a statement.

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Concern over Shell gas flow delay

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Concern over Shell gas flow delay

Saturday, 26th December, 2015

A MAYO TD has expressed concern over the delay in issuing the final regulatory approval to Shell E&P Ireland that will enable the company to start producing gas from the Corrib Gas Field in north Mayo.

Deputy Michelle Mulherin said it is the interest of the State to have gas flowing and she called on Energy Minister Alex White to ensure the assessment process be given additional resources and expedited.

She argued: “From an international point of view it doesn’t send out a great message, especially as we continue to press hard to attract further foreign direct investment into this country. The last thing the country wants is to be seen as ‘the poster boy for frustration’ by people in industry and trade who could be put off in investing here.

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Is it worth it for Shell and BG to do a deal?

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Fiona Walsh: 16 Dec 2015

When Royal Dutch Shell launched its blockbuster £47 billion (€65 billion) bid for BG, oil was changing hands on energy markets at about $60 a barrel and the price was forecast to rise to $70.

Nine months later benchmark Brent crude has slid to a seven-year low below $40 a barrel. So the value of Shell’s shares and cash offer for BG has been cut from £47 billion in April to £35 billion. So do the economics of a deal that would have created a business valued at more than £200 billion still add up?

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Shell granted licence by EPA for Mayo gas refinery

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Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 07.55.40Friday, Oct 9, 2015

Shell has been granted an industrial emissions licence by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its gas refinery at Bellanaboy, Co Mayo.

The licence is one of the last consents required by the Corrib gas developers. The licence allows for “operation of a gas refinery” and “combustion of fuels”. It was issued by the agency on Thursday October 8th and has been posted on the EPA’s website.

In August the company submitted the application to the department for permission to operate the 91 kilometre-long high pressure pipeline in north Mayo under section 40 of the Gas Acts.

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OSSL Whistleblower Email Sent to Irish Police, Irish Times and Shell on 28 August 2015

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From: THE OSSL COMPANY <[email protected]>

Date: 28 August 2015 08:10:45 BST

To: Pearse_Street_DS <[email protected]>, [email protected], [email protected], Commissioner <[email protected]>, “<[email protected]>” <[email protected]>, Michiel Brandjes <[email protected]>, [email protected]

Subject: Corrib CEO ..a Shell man …the day the nightmare began …top cop Gannon.

The Shell CEO appointed to Corrib, accompanied by his Local liaison officer unannounced arrived in the premises of OSSL.

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Shell urges ‘prompt processing’ of Corrib pipeline application

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Lorna Siggins: Thu, Aug 27, 2015

Shell E&P Ireland has urged the Department of Energy to ensure “prompt processing” of its application to operate the Corrib gas pipeline, as it says that “all of the elements of the Corrib gas field are in an advanced state of readiness”.

The company has submitted an application to the department for permission to operate the 91 kilometre-long high pressure pipeline in north Mayo under section 40 of the Gas Acts. Details of the application were not available on the department’s website on Wednesday.

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HSA refers Corrib tunnel death investigation to DPP

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Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 19.22.09Lorna Siggins: Thu, Aug 6, 2015

Health and Safety Authority has referred the findings of its investigation into the death of a German national in the Corrib gas tunnel almost two years ago to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The authority confirmed to The Irish Times yesterday that it has completed its investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Lars Wagner (26) in the tunnel under construction in north Mayo on September 8th, 2013.

Mr Wagner, who was single and from Offenburg in southern Germany, sustained fatal head injuries when a compressed air pipe reportedly came free.

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Trial shown footage of protesters at Shell compound

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Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 13.17.38Footage appeared to show some protesters and security officers involved in scuffles

The jury in the trial of two Shell protesters were shown video footage of the protest where up to 70 protesters entered a Shell compound in north Mayo.

The video footage was captured by CCTV at the compound and by security officers policing the site when the protesters entered the Shell compound at Aughoose, Pollathomas in Co Mayo on June 23rd, 2013.

Gerry Bourke of Aughoose, Pollathomas Co Mayo and Liam Heffernan of Kilnagear, Belcarra, Castlebar, Co Mayo are on trial in Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court both charged with violent disorder and criminal damage as a result of the protest.

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IRISH SHELL CORRUPTION COVER-UP CONTINUES

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As can be seen from the Irish Times article printed below, an Irish Shell manager was cross-examined under oath yesterday in court, about the free Shell alcohol used to reward Irish cops for their services (brutalising protesters) 

By John Donovan

The Irish Police (the Garda) are currently investigating allegations of harassment by recipients of bribes made on behalf of Shell by its then “Mr Fixit” company, OSSL.

The directors of OSSL are the subjects of the investigation, which the Garda warns may result in criminal charges.

I note that the recipients of the bribes are not suing for defamation on the grounds that the bribery allegations are untrue, but instead are complaining bitterly about being constantly reminded by OSSL that they caved in to Shell corruption. They accepted valuable gifts to smooth the path of the troubled Corrib project. 

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EPA turns down oral hearing request on Corrib gas project licence

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EPA turns down oral hearing request on Corrib gas project licence

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Lorna Siggins: Friday, 3 July 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has turned down requests for an oral hearing into a revised licence sought by Shell E&P Ireland for the Corrib gas project in north Mayo.

The revised licence covering atmospheric and marine emissions from the Corrib gas refinery is one of the last State authorisations required before the project becomes fully operational.

Shell had received its original EPA licence in 2007, but sought a review after it agreed to a demand by Erris fishermen that “treated produced water” from the refinery be discharged out at the well head, rather than some 12 km offshore.

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The lessons for all from the Corrib Gas project in North Mayo

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Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.01.13The lessons for all from the Corrib Gas project in North Mayo

Major infrastructure that is years behind schedule and massively over budget

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The Corrib Gas project represents a cautionary example of how large industrial developments should not be handled by governments or multinational companies. A lack of consultation and sensitivity to local concerns in the initial stages led gradually to resistance and confrontation. Smouldering resentment over what objectors regarded as unqualified state support for the developer caught fire when five protesters, concerned about the safety of a gas pipeline and its proximity to their homes, were jailed on an application from Shell. From there, there was no going back.

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Irish Company Freely Admits Distributing Bribes On Behalf of Shell

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Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 19.31.15PHOTO CAPTION FROM RECENT IRISH TIMES ARTICLE: Bríd McGarry, a Mayo landowner, and Mary Corduff, wife of jailed farmer Willie Corduff, after five Mayo farmers were jailed in 2005 for refusing to give an undertaking not to obstruct the construction of the Corrib gas pipe line. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Printed below is a comment on the Irish Times article received from OSSL, the Irish firm currently the subject of an investigation by the Irish police (the Garda) for alleged harassment of parties who received bribes distributed by OSSL on behalf of their disreputable employer, Irish Shell. 

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Corrib gas cost overruns deprive State of €600m in tax

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Corrib gas cost overruns deprive State of €600m in tax

The €2.4 billion cost overrun is largely as a consequence of opposition to the project, which was stimulated in part by poor management of it at its outset.

Peter Murtagh: Tuesday 30 June 2015

The huge cost overrun on Corrib gas, the single most expensive energy infrastructure project in Ireland and the largest since the Ardnacrusha hydroelectric scheme on the Shannon in the 1920s, will deprive the Government of an estimated €600 million in tax revenue.

The €600 million represents 25 per cent of the project’s likely cost overrun of €2.4 billion, much of which was incurred because of changes made to the project since it began.

Had this additional €2.4 billion not been spent on development costs, an extra €600 million would have been paid to the exchequer as tax on profit, which for exploration companies is levied at 25 per cent. However, like all companies, Shell Exploration and Production Ireland, which is a partner with Statoil of Norway and Vermilion Energy of Canada, can write off capital development costs against taxation.

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Corrib gas: Black starts, intelligent pigs and the mechanics of extraction

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Corrib gas: Black starts, intelligent pigs and the mechanics of extraction

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 19.31.15Peter Murtagh: Monday, 29 June 2015

The mechanics of extracting gas from the Corrib field appear simple enough. It is only when one gets into the detail of the engineering that the complexities emerge.

This is an environment in which a relatively small number of people can spend years – in remote places such as Sakhalin Island in the far east of Russia, in the Middle East, or on rigs in the North Sea – living intense lives in dangerous conditions and sometimes speaking a language alien to others.

They talk about “slug catchers” and “intelligent pigs”, about Christmas trees at the bottom of the sea, and about “black starts” – no one wants a black start, but if you are going to operate a terminal like the one now being tested at Bellanaboy in Mayo, someday for sure, you are going to have to do a black start.

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The Corrib legacy: what the protests achieved

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Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 19.31.15The Corrib legacy: what the protests achieved

A rerouting of the pipeline and greater public awareness of how Ireland treats its natural resources were among the positive outcomes of the Shell to Sea, campaigners say

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Bríd McGarry, a Mayo landowner, and Mary Corduff, wife of jailed farmer Willie Corduff, after five Mayo farmers were jailed in 2005 for refusing to give an undertaking not to obstruct the construction of the Corrib gas pipe line. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Lorna Siggins: Monday June 29, 2015

“You’ve gone very quiet up there.” North Mayo resident Mary Corduff reckons that if she had a euro for every time she heard this remark over the past few months, her purse could be pretty full. “People think because they don’t see us on protesting on the television that we have accepted this, but we haven’t,” Corduff says, looking out of her farmhouse window towards the Corrib gas refinery several miles away.

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The Shell Corrib impact: business boomed and friendships died

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The Corrib impact: business boomed and friendships died

As the gas is about to be brought onshore, Peter Murtagh takes a tour of the Corrib gas plant and speaks to people affected by its arrival.

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SAT, Jun 27, 2015

Gas is expected to come later this year to the Shell terminal in Bellanaboy, Co Mayo, through the controversial pipeline that rises from the Atlantic seabed 83km offshore. The terminal is currently being commissioned and tested. As gas passes through the terminal, impurities will be removed and pressure adjusted before the gas is pumped into the Bord Gáis network.

Outside the terminal, at Glengad and Aghoose, the start and end points of the 4.9km tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay, work to restore the landscape is under way.

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Shell’s objection takes issue with aspects of nine conditions attached to the revised licence which the EPA is likely to grant. Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

Lorna Siggins: 13 May 12015

Shell E&P Ireland is author of one of eight objections submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a revised emissions licence for the Corrib gas project. Seven other valid objections to the revised licence include two requests for an oral hearing which the EPA says its board will consider “at a future date”.

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Mayo men sue gardaí over alleged brutality at Shell to Sea protest

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Article from BreakingNews.ie published Wed 29 April 2015

Mayo men sue Irish Cops over alleged brutality at Shell to Sea protest *(were the cops tipsy?)

Three Mayo men are suing for damages over alleged garda brutality at a Shell to Sea protest eight years ago.

Patrick Coyle, and brothers Patrick and Martin O’Donnell, claim they were assaulted at Bellanaboy bridge on January 19, 2007.

It is the men’s case that gardaí displayed brutality and indiscipline during a protest outside the Shell oil refinery at Bellanaboy.

They claim Patrick Coyle was punched in the face and struck on the back of the head while trying to stop another demonstrator being pulled from the line of protesters by gardaí.

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Shell gig invite turned down by The Saw Doctors

Article by Lorna Siggins published by the Irish Times Friday 6 March 2015

Shell gig invite turned down by The Saw Doctors

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Folk rock band The Saw Doctors has turned down an invitation from Shell E&P Ireland to play at a gig in north Mayo this month celebrating the competion of the Corrib gas terminal.

The Tuam band, which is currently on a break from live appearances, said it was “not interested in playing for Shell E&P Ireland”.

However, Shell has confirmed that some musicians among the company’s own staff would be performing instead.

Band manager Ollie Jennings received the invitation from Shell several months ago, and confirmed this week that the musicians refused to accept the booking.

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Shell Corrib Gas Field testing being carried out illegally?

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A 40m gas flare from the Ocean Guardian drilling rig during a well production test at the Corrib field, 80kms off Co Mayo. Photograph: Shell E&P Ireland Ltd

By John Donovan

Last Wednesday The Irish Times reported that Shell E&P Ireland has begun two months of testing at its north Mayo onshore refinery in preparation for next year’s scheduled production from the Corrib gas field.

I understand from a usually well informed source that the testing is being carried out without an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Licence

According to my source, the licence expired on 14 November 2014.

Irish Citizens please take note: I further understand that there is provision under the Irish Environmental Protection Agency rules for any citizen to seek a High Court order where an activity is being carried out in contravention of licensing requirements.

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Corrib Gas Project: Vermilion’s shameful tax avoidance deal

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In order to facilitate intra-group financing, Vermilion was setting up a Hungarian company that would have a branch in Luxembourg, with an office, a desk, a telephone, fax number and one employee on its payroll.

News Release – Issued by Shell to Sea

November 7th , 2014 – For immediate release

— Corporation tax is only means of extracting revenue from Irish resources —

Shell to Sea has called on Minister for Energy and Natural Resources Alex White to clarify what impact Corrib Gas partner Vermilion’s Luxembourg tax avoidance deal – revealed in today’s Irish Times – will have on the revenue the exchequer thinks it will earn from the Corrib gas field. [1]

Spokesperson Maura Harrington said: “Under Ireland’s dysfunctional licensing terms, corporation tax is the only means the State uses to extract revenue from gas or oil found under Irish territory. Today’s revelation that Vermilion is using a Luxembourg tax avoidance deal to reduce its tax bill in Ireland raises serious questions for Minister Alex White and the Government.”

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Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com News Roundup: 18 August 2014

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THE CORRUPT SULTAN OF BRUNEI – RECIPIENT OF SHELL WEDDING GIFT BRIBERY

Firstbiz. has published an article setting out 5 things it says you should know about the Sultan.

See “Meet Sultan of Brunei, the man willing to shell out more than $2 bn for Sahara’s hotels

Extract: “Ironically, the Sultan’s Beverly Hills Hotel and Dorchester Collection properties in the United States have been subject to a boycott by many, including Hollywood personalities, following the Sharia penal code — which levies harsh punishments like flogging, the severing of limbs, and death by stoning for homosexuals and adulterers — that was instituted in the country of Brunei in early May.” 

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Shell’s unwelcome sponsorship of the arts

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Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 15.18.48By John Donovan

Earlier this year campaigners and climate activists applauded the end of the Shell Classic International series at the South Bank Centre in London. 

SEE: Campaigners celebrate end of Shell’s Southbank sponsorship

Protestors, including from the Shell OUT SOUNDS organisation and PlatformLondon.org strongly objected to what has been aptly described as “oil-branded concerts.”

All take particular exception to Shell’s atrocious track record in Nigeria.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 15.26.32Today The Irish Times has published an article reporting that the Shell to Sea campaign group in Ireland intends to mount a public protest about Shell’s sponsorship of the largest traditional Irish music Festival, “Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.”  

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Shell connection?: Garda laptop found in a Dutch brothel

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By John Donovan

The Irish Independent newspaper has published an article reporting that a worker at a Dutch brothel discovered a bag apparently containing “a laptop and documents as well as an “insignia” that allegedly identified the owner as being a member of An Garda Siochana”  – the Irish Police force. 

I note that comments have already been posted on the article raising the subject of the free alcohol given by Royal Dutch Shell to the Garda as part of Shell sponsored corruption surrounding the Corrib Gas Project. 

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Top criminologist calls for inquiry into Corrib policing

Screen Shot 2014-05-07 at 15.40.29Extract from a Lorna Siggins article published by the Irish Times Friday 11 July 2014

The Queen’s University Belfast academic who exposed the South Yorkshire police handling of the 1989 Hillsborough football stadium disaster has supported calls for a full review of the policing of the Corrib gas project in north Mayo.

Criminologist Prof Phil Scraton says international concern about Garda handling of opposition to the gas project reflects a belief that it has “moved beyond a series of specific incidents to something of much greater institutional consequence”.

He considers that the policing of the gas project from late 2006 merits a non-statutory review of all available documentation, which could be a prelude to a full statutory inquiry.

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Legal panel to examine Garda misconduct allegations

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By John Donovan

The Irish Times has published an article under the headline “Legal panel to examine Garda misconduct allegations.”

Extracts

The Government has decided to hire seven barristers to examine as many as 220 outstanding allegations of Garda misconduct received from members of the public in light of the whistleblowers affair. The move came as the Government approved terms for draft laws to strengthen the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission with new powers, including the right to investigate any alleged criminal conduct by a Garda commissioner. In respect of some 220 allegations about members of the force, Attorney General Máire Whelan will engage a panel of two senior counsel and five junior counsel to scrutinise files and advise whether further action is required. At issue is a deluge of allegations received from the public by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Ministers, TDs and Government departments.

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Joint call for inquiry into Corrib policing

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 17.34.44Extracts from an Irish Times article by Lorna Siggins published 20 June 2014

Social justice campaigner Fr Peter McVerry, Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke, four TDs, one Senator and seven academics are signatories to a petition for an independent inquiry into policing of the north Mayo Shell/Corrib gas dispute.

Transparency International chief executive John Devitt, Garda whistleblower John Wilson, former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday and film-maker Lelia Doolan have also signed the petition, supported by five non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and 31 public figures.

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Call for a Public Inquiry into the Policing of the Shell/Corrib Gas Project

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Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 17.34.44Call for a Public Inquiry into the Policing of the Shell/Corrib Gas Project by the named eminent individuals and parties listed below

We support the recent demands for an inquiry into allegations of systemic Garda corruption and violence. We believe any such inquiry should include the Shell/Corrib pipeline police operation in North West Mayo. This is one of the longest running police operations in the history of the Irish state and has drawn critical attention from national and international human rights organisations1 since 2006 over the alleged violence and intimidation used by Gardaí against campaigners.

In 2007, campaigners submitted complaints en masse against the Gardaí to the newly established Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC). Out of the 111 complaints received by GSOC between May 2007 and November 2009, 78 were deemed admissible and 7 sent to the DPP. The DPP rejected prosecution in all 7 cases. The majority of campaigners have since stopped submitting complaints to GSOC. In 2010, complaints from 400 Kilcommon residents were submitted to Shell’s Belmullet office detailing the “escalating physical and psychological harassment” continuing in the area. In 2012, residents again submitted a mass complaint, this time to Mayo County Council, outlining serious grievances arising out of the project, including experiences of private security and state policing, with no result. Any inquiry into the policing of the Shell/Corrib Gas Project cannot ignore the following extract from the minutes of the Shell Committee of Managing Directors meeting held in London 22/23 July 2002:”It was noted that development of the Corrib field may be delayed until 2004 as planning consent had been refused for the terminal. The committee queried whether the Group had sufficiently well placed contacts with the Irish government and regulators. Paul Skinner undertook to explore this issue further in consultation with the Country Chairman in Ireland”.

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€1.5bn to be spent on Irish oil and gas finds in next three years

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Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Extract from an Irish Times article by Ciaran Hancock published Mon 16 June 2014

About €1.5 billion will be spent on oil and gas exploration around Ireland over the next three years, according to a study by accounting group PwC. Eighty per cent of those surveyed said they were optimistic about the chances of discovering oil here but almost two-thirds said the future development of the industry would depend on the licensing and financial terms offered by the Government. Nine out of 10 respondents said the “events” in Corrib, where Shell has been seeking to develop a natural gas field since 1996 against a backdrop of significant local opposition, had done “serious or significant damage” to Ireland’s reputation among international oil and gas companies.

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Garda concerns at whistleblower plan

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Some allegations against the Garda, including from whistlerblower company OSSL, have arisen from the Shell led Corrib Gas Project

Extracts from an RTE News article published Friday 16 May 2014 under the headline:AGSI admits concerns at whistleblower plan

The President of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors has said it is concerned by the decision to assign the role of receiving confidential information from garda whistleblowers to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. The decision was made by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald yesterday.

Tim Galvin said people would be very nervous about going to GSOC and then whatever issues they might have would not come out into the open. Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Galvin also said he believed more garda whistleblowers would come forward. He said: “If we have skeletons in the cupboard, let’s bring them out. Get them out into the open.

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Convulsions in Irish Justice Dept and Policing

RESIGNED: Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

RESIGNED: Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

The creators of the mould-breaking TV comedy Seinfeld adopted two rules: no hugging, no learning. We need to apply those rules to our current episode of the dark farce of Irish “reform”. Of course, the details should be properly investigated but on the larger scale, there is nothing new to be learned here. The new inquiries will find what the old ones found: a culture in the Garda, Department of Justice and in the State as a whole of burying unwanted truths. 

By John Donovan

The convulsions in Ireland arising from the resignations of the Police Commissioner and the Justice Minister continue, with the Irish Cabinet discussing terms of reference for an inquiry into Garda cases.

Extracts

The Minister said the external review of the Department will be completed before the Dáil and Seanad rise for the summer recess. “I have committed to root and branch reform of the administration of justice in this country and this includes the Government Department responsible for this area.” In addition, the Cabinet resolved to urgently bring forward new legislation to strengthen the operation of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. Ms Fitzgerald further said that the new Independent Garda Authority will be up and running by the end of the year.

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Reputation of Irish Justice Dept and Police in Catastrophic Meltdown 

Screen Shot 2014-05-10 at 21.23.47By John Donovan

Most visitors to this website are probably fed-up with our coverage of events in Ireland stemming from allegations made against Shell and the Garda by a whistleblower company – OSSL – that worked as a Mr Fixit for Shell.

However, remarkable related events continue to unfold. 

OSSL says that it purchased and distributed free booze at Christmas time to Irish police officers on behalf of Shell. As part of a cover-up, Shell issued a press statement several months ago (above) denying OSSL allegations. 

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Irish Minister for Justice Alan Shatter resigns

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By John Donovan

The Irish Times has tonight reported the sudden resignation of Alan Shatter, the Irish Minister of Justice with whom I have corresponded in relation to OSSL allegations concerning Shell sponsored corruption involving hundreds of  Garda officers, including senior officers such as Supt Joe Gannon.

The findings of an investigation – the third by the Irish police authorities, is imminent. 

The Garda Commissioner has already resigned in connection with other allegations against Irish cops. 

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Shell to Sea goes to UN over policing of gas dispute

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 23.41.46Extracts from an Irish Times article by Lorna Siggins published 30 April 2014

Shell to Sea has appealed to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to raise the issue of policing the Corrib gas dispute with the Government. The Mayo-based environmental group says it has made the submission to the UNHCR’s office, following Minister for Justice Alan Shatter’s confirmation in the Dáil that he did “not see a necessity” for an independent inquiry into policing in North Mayo. UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Margaret Sekaggya had recommended that the Government should “investigate all allegations and reports of intimidation, harassment and surveillance in the context of the Corrib gas dispute in a prompt and impartial manner”.

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Archbishop Tutu calls for independent inquiry into policing of Corrib gas project

South African archbishop Desmond Tutu and former United Nations assistant secretary general Denis Halliday have called for an “urgent and comprehensive” independent inquiry into the policing of the Corrib gas project.

The Garda Ombudsman investigation of police corruption allegations by Shell's "Mr Fixit" contractor OSSL is still in progress.

The Garda Ombudsman investigation of police corruption allegations by Shell’s “Mr Fixit” contractor OSSL is still in progress.

Article by Lorna Siggins published 29 March 2014 by The Irish Times

South African archbishop Desmond Tutu and former United Nations assistant secretary general Denis Halliday have called for an “urgent and comprehensive” independent inquiry into the policing of the Corrib gas project.

They are among a group of signatories supporting the call by peace and justice group Afri, while the Front Line Defenders human rights organisation also said policing of the Corrib gas dispute should be included in “any Government inquiry” into Garda accountability.

“Front Line Defenders believes that any inquiry should have broad terms of reference that should include reviewing the policing of the Corrib gas dispute,” its deputy director Andrew Anderson said.

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Journalism ‘infected by corporate public relations’

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Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 14.17.32As can be confirmed from the video recording, Shell was a prime target of the comment by Ed Vulliamy about journalism being infected by corporate public relations. This was in relation to the allegations made by former Shell “Mr Fixit” company, OSSL, that Shell had corrupted the Irish Police Force by giving away free alcohol as bribes.

Article by Lorna Siggins published on 18 March 2014 by The Irish Times

Journalism has been “infected” by “corporate public relations” and the media is part of a “seamless troika” involving governments and corporations, according to the British war correspondent Ed Vulliamy.

The Guardian and Observer journalist, who has won awards for his reporting from Bosnia, the 9/11 attacks, Iraq and Mexico, said that resources had been curtailed to the extent that journalists had “shrunk in number” while those working in public relations had grown. Mr Vulliamy was addressing a discussion hosted by justice and peace group Afri in Carrowteigue, north Mayo, on the media and the Corrib gas project.

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Irish oil/gas exploration debate

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Extracts from an article by Mark Paul published by The Irish Times on 14 March 2014 under the headline: “One More Thing: Industry lobbyists plan to strike back at the slick campaign of Own Our Oil”

They’re getting very strident on both sides of the oil/gas exploration debate as the review of licensing and fiscal terms ordered by Minister Pat Rabbitte gets under way. Eddie Hobbs and his media-savvy Own Our Oil (Ooo) group, derived from the campaign to stop drilling off the coast of delicious Dalkey, have come tearing out of the traps with their new book calling for the State to seek a much greater share of the spoils from any future finds off the Irish coast. Ooo, which is a bit like the Shell to Sea campaign in a three-piece suit, has been particularly pointed in its criticisms of the pro-industry brigade.

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Shell Corrib Gas Project Developments

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Extracts from an article by Mary Carolan published on 11 March 2014 by The Irish Times under the headline: “Judge fast-tracks hearing of Corrib gas challenge”

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 15.39.36A High Court judge yesterday granted an application from Shell E&P Ireland to fast- track the hearing of the latest legal action against the Corrib project and fixed a trial date on May 20th. The approach adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to its decision-making relating to licensing the refinery was “nothing short of alarming and extraordinary”, Martin Harrington has claimed. Last October, Mr Harrington, Geesala, Ballina, Co Mayo, won, on consent of the EPA, an order quashing a different revised licence issued by the agency for the Shell gas terminal at Bellanaboy, arising from defects in relation to how the EPA carried out an environmental impact assessment concerning the terminal development. Now he has brought a judicial review challenge to the amendment to the different 2007 licence.

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Selection of links to Shell related articles

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29Selection of links to Shell related articles kindly supplied by a regular contributor

Shell starts commercial US output of new motor oil made from 

Hydrocarbon Processing-21 hours ago Shell refers to its novel motor oil process as PurePlus technology, a patented process of converting natural gas into a clear base oil, which is 

Back in oil shale

Grand Junction Sentinel-10 hours ago Shell, Chevron and American Shale Oil hold R&D leases in Rio Blanco County from the earlier round of leasing — including three leases in 

Big Oil’s Biggest Project in Decades Is About to Start Paying Off

Motley Fool-by Rupert Hargreaves-9 minutes ago Indeed, the project is so large that it is taking a consortium of oil majors to develop it, including ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) , Royal Dutch Shell 

Review: Little Thing, Big Thing

Irish Times (blog)-2 hours ago Like O’Kelly’s recent Fionnuala , his concern is the power of the oil industry,  But where Fionnuala made a punching bag out of a Shell Corrib 

Doubling Tar Sands production for Imperial War

CounterPunch-7 hours ago Given the size of soon to be exploited gas and oil reserves within …. to existing operations elsewhere, such as at Shell’s Peace River plant, that  Energy diplomacy with the Dana Gas chief executive

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Garda Corruption Allegations

Extracts from articles published by The Irish Times 24 February 2014

Claims on Garda corruption first made in 2008

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 11.17.48Allegations investigated at the time by GSOC and the Gard. The Irish Times understands that some of the allegations first raised by Sgt McCabe in May 2008 are contained in a dossier compiled by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and presented to the Government in recent weeks. The dossier also contains new cases.

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