Ireland gives final consent on Corrib natural gas pipeline

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Carey has given consent to the Corrib natural gas pipeline, with some conditions.

Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) (NYSE:RDS-B), on behalf of the Corrib Gas Partners, applied in May 2010 for the approval to develop the onshore portion of the Corrib gas pipeline in Ireland, and the final governmental approval has been granted.

The project involves constructing a natural gas pipeline from the Corrib natural gas field subsea facilities to the Corrib gas terminal at Bellanboy, County Mayo. Additionally, the Plan of Development for the Corrib gas field has been approved.

Discovered 83 kilometers offshore the west coast of Ireland in 1996, the Corrib gas field is situated in waters measuring some 350 meters deep. At peak production, the Corrib gas field is expected to supply up to 60 percent of Ireland’s gas needs.

Field development for the Corrib project includes a subsea development and subsea pipeline, as well as an onshore pipeline and onshore gas processing facility at Bellanaboy Bridge in County Mayo.

The center of much controversy, the Corrib natural gas project has undergone additional safety and environmental reviews. The route for the onshore pipeline was remapped, and produced water is being discharged 83 kilometers offshore, rather than at the gas processing facility at Broadhaven Bay.

The Corrib gas project is expected to create 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and 130 permanent jobs.

Shell serves as the operator of the Corrib project with 45 percent interest. Project partners include Statoil (NYSE:STO) with 36.5 percent interest and Vermilion Energy (TSX: VET) with 18.5 percent interest.

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