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TMC.net (Ireland): Shell's 'regret' over Corrib is a PR move, warns Owens Wiwa

Shell's 'regret' over Corrib is a PR move, warns Owens Wiwa

(The Irish Times Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Nigerian activist Dr Owens Wiwa has said the north Mayo community must make “no compromise” in relation to its opposition to the Corrib gas onshore pipeline.

Dr Wiwa, brother of executed Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, also believes Shell E&P Ireland's recent statement of “regret” over its handling of the project was a “public relations” move timed to assuage shareholders before the parent's annual meeting in The Hague earlier this week. “I have seen this pattern many times before,” Dr Wiwa, a Toronto-based medical consultant, told The Irish Times.

He was speaking en route to Mayo where he will lead today's Afri famine march from Doolough to Louisburgh.

“The company makes conciliatory statements before its agm, and then it resorts to 'Shellspeak' when the agm is over. This is what has happened with other controversial projects, and in the last few weeks with Corrib, where the company said it would look at the offshore option and then discounted this.”

A day after publication earlier this month of the Government safety review on the onshore pipeline, the firm said it was prepared to review options on processing the gas from the Corrib field, but within 48 hours it had rowed back on this commitment.

Since returning to mediation with the Rossport five, the firm has made no further comment, although mediator Peter Cassells has asked the firm to clarify its intent on other routes and options.

Dr Wiwa said he believed Shell could well afford to process the gas offshore, as the interests of the local community were paramount.

“Shell has been drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, the Atlantic, and there is no reason why this cannot be done off Mayo, even if it is a little bit more expensive,” he said.

Royal Dutch Shell recently said it had banked profits of GBP1.5 million an hour for the first quarter of this year.

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