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Bloomberg: Protesters Stop Shell Working on Irish Gas Terminal (Update1)

By Fergal O’Brien

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) — Protesters kept Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company by market value, from resuming work on a gas terminal in western Ireland that’s already been delayed by more than a year.

Workers couldn’t go onto the site today because of a protest, Susan Shannon, a spokeswoman for Shell Exploration and Production Ireland, said by phone. Dublin-based broadcaster RTE said on its Web site about 100 people blocked the entrance to the terminal. A number of police officers are standing between the protesters and workers, it said.

Work on the terminal, intended to process natural gas from the $1.1 billion offshore Corrib gas field, has been delayed by opposition from local residents, who want the gas processed off the coast rather than piped ashore. Shell says it can’t because of field is too deep and the sea too rough.

“We have taken every reasonable step over the past year to address the concerns around the Corrib project,” said Shell Ireland Deputy Managing Director Terry Nolan. “It is regrettable that despite this local protestors and others from outside the area have prevented our staff and local contractors from going to work today.”

Discovered in 1996, the Corrib field contains about 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The work scheduled to begin today was preparatory engineering and environmental work, according to Shell. The company, whose partners in the project are Statoil ASA and Marathon Oil Corp., plans to begin full construction of the terminal in the first quarter 2007.

The group organizing the protest, Shell to Sea, posted pictures of the demonstrators on their Web site, http://www.corribsos.com/ , under a headline “Shell — You do NOT have local consent!”

“I do not believe the protestors represent the views of the wider community,” Nolan said. “A small number of people who are unwilling to enter into reasonable dialogue should not be allowed to prevent work on the Bellanaboy gas terminal.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Fergal O’Brien in Dublin at [email protected]

Last Updated: September 26, 2006 07:00 EDT

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