"There is a rich irony in the events of last week. Locals involved in the Corrib Gas protest have received criminal convictions for blocking roads. But when Shell blocks a road it is slavishly faciltated by the local council and up to 150 gardaí - all paid for by the taxpayer."
THE FINAL cost of the controversial Corrib Gas project is now set to be close to €3 billion and it may be late 2014 before gas is finally flowing from the field.
The revised cost estimate emerges from documents just filed with the companies office here by Shell EP Ireland Ltd.
The accounts show the total outlay on the project to the end of December 2010 was €2.16 billion.
Partners in the project, Shell, Statoil and Canadian-owned Vermilion, spent an additional €200 million last year and it is understood that the capital expenditure on the project in 2011 will be about €250 million.
This will bring the total spend on the project to €2.4 billion with construction work yet to commence on the tunnel which, according to Minister for Energy, Pat Rabbitte, is gong to cost an additional €400 million.
The construction work on the tunnel is not going to commence until the middle of next year and is expected to take at least two years to complete.
The Corrib gas partners are eight years behind their target to start generating revenues from the field. The original cost on the project was €800 million.
The partners had hoped that gas would be brought ashore this year. However, An Bord Pleanála ruled that half of the proposed over-ground pipe-line would be unsafe, necessitating the application for the tunnel.
The Shell accounts show the company’s losses more than doubled last year to €50 million.
Its losses were reduced by €12.7 million as a result of a tax credit from the exchequer. The company has received €100 million in tax credits since the project commenced.