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Oil giant Shell announces new Corrib gas chief

The Irish Times – Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ÁINE RYAN

SHELL HAS announced the appointment of a new managing director at the Corrib gas project.

The communique came as local protest groups yesterday declined an invitation to contribute to a joint Oireachtas committee hearing on offshore resources and their exploration.

Michael Crothers is a Canadian native, born to Irish parents, and takes the helm as Shell prepares for the final phase of the operation. This involves construction of the longest sub-sea raw gas pipeline in western Europe.

Challenges by An Taisce and local residents to key consents for this final phase were settled in the High Court recently.

Mr Crothers takes over from Terry Nolan on December 1st next. Mr Nolan, who held the position for four years, announced his intention to retire some weeks ago and said he was “hugely proud” of the “many collective achievements” attained by partners and contractors at Corrib. “I would also like to thank the people of Erris for their welcome and support and for the many challenges they have raised,” Mr Nolan said.

Mr Crothers has worked around the world in the oil and gas industry over a 28-year period, 24 of which have been with Shell.

His most recent post was as general manager of Expansion Operations for Shell’s upstream business in the Americas. He has also worked in London as vice-president of health, safety, environment and sustainable development for Shell’s downstream business. He will divide his time between Dublin and Erris.

Meanwhile, local community group Pobal Chill Chomáin has strongly criticised the decision of An Taisce to make a settlement on judicial reviews of the project, removing one the final obstacles to the project. The group claims the project is now in a legal limbo.

The group also wrote to Andrew Doyle TD, chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture, declining an invitation to participate in a session to be held next week on November 29th. Pobal chairman Vincent McGrath states in the letter that the group’s key concerns for the “health and safety of the community” had not been addressed in a multitude of forums and settings.

“No integrated, cumulative risk assessment has ever been conducted on this project. Laws have been changed, standards amended, European rules ignored in order to advance the project,” Mr McGrath wrote.

He also said he wished to “to highlight the State’s facilitation of the project at every level, the criminalisation of our legitimate protests and the resultant human rights violations . . . We have been consistently excluded from having these issues properly and fully addressed.”

Maura Harrington of Shell to Sea also said they would not contribute either. Pro-Gas Mayo also received an invite to the meeting.

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