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Debacle surrounding the Corrib gas project

Irish Independent: A lack of information

Thursday July 28, 2005

Sir – The debacle surrounding the Corrib gas project is a monument to miscommunication, misinformation and misrepresentation, whether intentional or not. Shell has been less than forthright in offering readily understood explanations of the project. Recently a representative of Shell E&P stated that, even if the processing was moved offshore, the pressure in the pipeline coming ashore would be essentially the same. This is misleading. An offshore platform could readily incorporate pressure reduction equipment and likely would do so as a step in the gas processing. As a matter of safety, there is no requirement for offshore pressure reduction but it would be a consideration in risk mitigation.

The Corrib project pipeline design is code compliant. Pressure containment has been considered and incorporated in the design. However, in consideration of the character of the system, certain essentials of the onshore pipeline design should have been enhanced beyond code requirements for the purpose of risk mitigation.

The objectors have nothing to gloat about. While much of the data quoted by the objectors is correct, in many cases it has been taken out of context and is not representative of the specific cases that would arise from the Corrib project. The objectors imply that gas pipelines erupt for no good cause. If they had been diligent in reviewing the Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) data, they would have found that the OPS also records the causes of accidents. Was there any attempt to correlate the OPS’s incident data to the Corrib project, or noting that 480,000km of gas transmission pipelines are included in the OPS reports?

Apparently Shell has not adequately communicated these points to the objectors in readily understandable terms. Harry Conti, Rush, Co Dublin

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