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Alternative Corrib gas route announced

Irish Times: Alternative Corrib gas route announced

Last Updated: 17/04/2008  16:46
Elaine Edwards

An alternative route for the controversial Corrib Gas pipeline in Co Mayo announced today is twice as far from local houses as the original pipeline, the partners in the project claimed.

The new pipleline, proposed by RPS consultants following 11 months of public consultation, will also have its pressure limited to less than half of the original pressure.

Today’s proposal emerged following the publication of a report by mediator Peter Cassells 14 months ago.

Local people had objected strongly to the original route of the pipeline and five men, known as the ‘Rossport Five’ were jailed over the issue in 2005.

RPS, the company contracted by the Corrib Gas partners to identify an alternative route in the vicinity of Rossport, said the new route is twice as far away from occupied housing compared to the originally approved route.

It said that as well as modifying the route of the pipeline, the Corrib partners have agreed to limit the design pressure in the onshore section of the pipeline to 144 bar, less than half of the original design pressure.

According to the project partners, the Corrib pipeline will provide up to 60 per cent of Ireland’s gas needs at peak supply period and will add €3 billion to GDP over the life of the project.

Some 650 people are employed on construction of the Corrib gas terminal at Bellanaboy. Sub-sea drilling on the Corrib gas field, 83km off the Mayo coast, will resume next month.

By the end of 2008, five wells will be completed and made ready for production at a later date.

Further offshore engineering activity will be required in 2009 to complete the installation of the offshore facilities.

Andy Pyle, managing director of Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL) said: “Since the events of 2005, Shell has listened very closely to the local community. Today’s announcement shows that we have made every reasonable effort to address the concerns expressed by local people.”

“In identifying the new pipeline route RPS have engaged extensively with the local community and taken on board the key recommendations of Peter Cassells’ mediation report.

“We are delighted with the progress being achieved on this strategically important infrastructure project. The gas processing terminal at Bellanaboy is now 30 per cent complete and is the largest construction site in Ireland.”

SEPIL will shortly submit applications to An Bord Pleanála, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food for consents to construct the onshore pipeline.

A period of statutory public consultation will follow.

Lobby group Pro Gas Mayo welcomed the announcement of the new route.

A spokesman for the group said it felt today’s proposal to take the route further away from homes, while also reducing the proposed gas pressure in the pipeline, was the “optimum situation”.

“The proposed tunnelling under the bay at two locations in accordance with new technology is also to be welcomed, and will preserve the integrity of the bay,” the spokesman added.

In May 2002, former marine minister Frank Fahey signed 34 compulsory acquisition orders for access to private lands on the pipeline route – precipitating the local opposition that ultimately led to the jailing for 94 days of the Rossport Five in June 2005.

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1 Comment on “Alternative Corrib gas route announced”

  1. #1 JM
    on Apr 17th, 2008 at 18:21

    SHELL TO SEA PRESS RELEASE 17/04/2008 – Pipeline route

    The announcement today of a pipeline route by Shell and Statoil signals further failure by the Corrib developers. The reality is that there is no consent for an inland refinery or any production pipeline in our community.

    This proposed route announced today literally cuts through the heart of our community. It exposes not just the people of Rossport but the people of the entire parish of Kilcommon to unprecedented and unacceptable risk. We do not give our consent to this and will resist it through every legal, political and campaigning means open to us, even though this could lead to more years of unnecessary conflict.

    This entire project has been the cause of untold misery, strife and unhappiness for our families and community. Our duty is to protect and defend the integrity and safety of our place and people.

    This conflict can be resolved if there is a genuine willingness on the part of Shell and Statoil to reach agreement and secure real consent. The tragedy is that there has always been a better way. What we need is resolution and agreement, not the forced imposition on an unwilling community of an unwanted and unsafe project.


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