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Shell ordered to dismantle pipeline

Daily Telegraph: Shell ordered to dismantle pipeline

“The Irish government yesterday ordered Shell to dismantle a gas pipeline that has sparked protests in County Mayo.”: “Shell has suspended its £605m project to link the Corrib gas field to an onshore refinery.”: “The pipeline has become a major public relations disaster for Shell, which admitted at its half-year results last week that it needed to drastically improve its project management.”

Tuesday 2 August 2005

By Malcolm Moore (Filed: 02/08/2005)

The Irish government yesterday ordered Shell to dismantle a gas pipeline that has sparked protests in County Mayo.

Noel Dempsey, the minister for communications, marine and natural resources, told the oil company to take apart just under two miles of pipeline that he said had been built without consent.

“What I am ordering them to do now is to undo the length of pipeline they welded,” he said.

The minister also said the oil major will now have to face much closer scrutiny and unannounced visits from government inspectors. Shell has suspended its £605m project to link the Corrib gas field to an onshore refinery.

“What we will have is authorised officers who will be able to go on site of any of the Shell works during the remainder of this project. They will be able to do it unannounced and without any prior notice,” he added. However, Shell will still eventually be given ministerial consent.

A spokesman for the company said: “Shell Exploration and Production is today carefully studying the content of the letter received from the minister and will not be making any further comment.”

Shell believes it has been rigorous in conforming to numerous regulations surrounding the project and has described the slip-up as a technical breach. Nevertheless, the oil major was not able to explain what had happened to the papers authorising it to weld that section of the pipe.

The company also said 91 jobs would be lost in the area because of the delay to construction work.

The pipeline has become a major public relations disaster for Shell, which admitted at its half-year results last week that it needed to drastically improve its project management.

Locals are concerned that transporting volatile gas from an offshore field to the refinery could put their homes at risk. They want it to be refined offshore and have been protesting against construction work.

Five farmers in Rossport – Michael Seighin, Willie Corduff, Brendan Philbin, Vincent McGrath and Philip McGrath – have been in Cloverhill prison in Dublin for over a month for breaking a court injunction which banned them from interfering. The five men have attracted enormous media coverage and a supportive song has already been released.

Mr Dempsey has commissioned a further safety report into the the deal, which will take about six weeks.

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