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Shell says Corrib gas will bring 1,000 jobs

23 January 2011 By Nicola Cooke and John Burke

Shell has pledged to create 1,000 jobs this year on works related to the Corrib gas project, which was granted planning permission last week for the final section of the controversial pipeline.

The oil company said that the jobs would arise from the construction of a twin bore tunnel for the pipeline under Sruwaddacon Bay in Co Mayo.

Employees would also be needed for works at the €1 billion gas terminal at Bellanaboy and for an offshore rig which will be constructed this year to check the existing gas wells.

Last week, An Bord Pleanála approved planning permission for the final section of the pipeline after the third application by Shell E&P Ireland in more than a decade.

However, the project is still awaiting a decision on an application for an offshore licence from the Department of the Environment as well as permission to lay the pipeline from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

The company is hopeful that a decision on these will be made in the near future, but it is understood that energy minister Eamon Ryan is still waiting for several technical reports before making a final decision on approval.

A Shell spokesman said the construction of the five-kilometre tunnel under the seabed in the bay would be done on a 24-hour basis, and that a team at Killybegs port would likely service the rig. However, Terence Conway, the Shell to Sea campaign spokesman, said the ‘‘final chapter has not yet been written on the project’’ and said the group might seek a judicial review of An Bord Pleanála’s decision.

Meanwhile, Shell has been instructed to install new security procedures at the compound where the Corrib gas pipeline comes ashore at Glengad in north Mayo. This is amid concerns over the risk of ‘‘third party damage’’ to the facility.

In future, it will have to be protected by two separate fences; one of which should be electrified, according to a report into the pipeline’s design and safety, conducted as part of the planning board’s assessment of the project.

According to the report, prepared by health and safety expert Niall Wright, Shell should redesign the security fencing ‘‘to include a double high security fence and gates with a suitable floodlit deadzone between the inner and outer fencing.”

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