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Planet Ark, NY: Shell Halts Work on Disputed Irish Pipeline for Talks

Planet Ark, NY: Shell Halts Work on Disputed Irish Pipeline for Talks

“The row escalated in late June after five residents were jailed for contempt of court for refusing not to obstruct the laying of the pipeline through their lands. The Corrib field, containing 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas 70km off the Mayo coast, was discovered in 1996 and was Ireland’s first significant offshore find since Kinsale Head off the southwestern coast in 1971.”

Monday 8 August 2005

DUBLIN – Ireland’s natural resources minister has offered to appoint an intermediary to broker talks between oil giant Royal Dutch Shell and residents in western Ireland who oppose its plans for an onshore gas pipeline.

“He’s offered to appoint an intermediary if requested by both parties,” a spokesman for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Minister Noel Dempsey said.

Shell Exploration & Production Ireland is embroiled in a bitter dispute with residents of Rossport, County Mayo, over the safety of the pipeline, which it plans to run for 9 km (5.5 miles) inland from its gas platform to a processing plant.

The company said late on Thursday it was suspending operations on the 900 million euro ($1.1 billion) Corrib gas project until the end of the year to allow time for a safety review and to resolve the dispute with residents.

“While we strongly believe that all safety aspects of the onshore pipeline have been fully addressed, we want the public to have confidence that every reasonable step has been taken,” Shell Ireland Managing Director Andy Pyle said in a statement.

Rossport residents, concerned about the high-pressure pipeline running past their homes, want Shell to process the gas on an offshore shallow water platform instead.

The row escalated in late June after five residents were jailed for contempt of court for refusing not to obstruct the laying of the pipeline through their lands.

The Corrib field, containing 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas 70km off the Mayo coast, was discovered in 1996 and was Ireland’s first significant offshore find since Kinsale Head off the southwestern coast in 1971.

The Irish Republic currently imports most of its natural gas from the UK, but Shell says Corrib has the potential to supply some 60 percent of the national annual gas demand.

http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/31951/story.htm

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