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Irish Independent: Fishy business on Corrib gas field costs Shell €250,000

Monday July 09 2007

A SPECIES of fish which likes to hide away in dark spaces has cost the Shell company over €250,000 by blocking drilling operations at the controversial Corrib gas field, 83 kilometres off the Mayo coast.

Shell E&P Ireland (SEPIL) engineers were baffled when suction piling – drilling by suction – mysteriously failed to achieve the required depths.

The operation was being carried out by an underwater robot which was being used to instal protection covers on the Corrib sub-sea wells. When the suction panel was removed in an expensive operation, the cause of the problem became apparent – a 4ft ling, subsequently nicknamed “Larry” by bemused rig workers. The ling had formed a perfect shut valve on the suction pipe. SEPIL communications manager John Egan explained that the fish had temporarily prevented a 130 tonne structure reaching its design building depth on the sea bed – 350 metres below sea level.

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