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Shell To Sea JR Legal Fund

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Four local residents have initiated a legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision granting Shell E&P Ireland an INDUSTRIAL EMISSIONS LICENCE P0738-03 for the Corrib gas refinery in Co Mayo.


In proceedings before the High Court, four residents argue THAT the decision to grant the license is flawed and should be set aside.

The action, against the EPA and the State, has been brought by Martin and Maura Harrington, and Monica Muller and Peter Sweetman. 

The Corrib Gas Field is a reserve of natural gas situated 80 km off the west coast of County Mayo containing at least 1 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas. The Corrib Gas Project, directed by a consortium of companies led by Royal Dutch Shell, seeks to bring the gas ashore at Glengad in the Barony of Erris in North West Mayo and to pump the unrefined gas 9km inland through an inhabited area to a refinery located on a boggy hill where it would be cleaned and depressurized for sale and export. The gas field was discovered in 1996 by Enterprise Oil, operating in a consortium with Saga Petroleum. Enterprise Oil drilled appraisal wells in 1998 and declared the field commercial in early 2001. In 1998 the Corrib Enterprise Oil consortium employed consultants to survey the Connacht coast to find a suitable place to bring the gas ashore.

The development concept which the Enterprise Oil Consortium had selected for the Corrib Gas was that of a land based refinery. Instead of processing the gas at sea OR ONSHORE, the consortium intends to pump high pressure raw gas to an unprecedented inland refinery where it would be processed for sale and consumption. The design concept of an inland refinery was drawn up to facilitate the further exploitation of Ireland’s offshore oil and gas reserves. No other development models were meaningfully explored by the Corrib consortium, nor did the relevant government authorities ask the consortium to seriously examine other models. The main work on the ground began at the refinery site in spring 2005. Preparatory work began at the and attempts were being made to stake out the route of the pipeline.

All the problems regarding environmental and community concerns result from the refinery location. A recent petition of the 1200 Kilcommon residents clearly showed that the majority do not support the project in its current form.. The words of An Bord Pleanála’s Senior Planning Inspector, Kevin Moore, ring true now more than ever: ‘This is the wrong site’.

Due to THE STATE AND Shell ‘project splitting’ the Corrib development, which in itself is highly questionable under EU Directives AND JUDGEMENTS OF THE European Court, the refinery has just started to be constructed before the pipeline route has even been announced, let alone approved. However it is not too late and there are in fact solutions and alternatives that have so far been ignored. 

To continue the fight they need your support.

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