"The government has relinquished control over the offshore areas of our industry. Norway was tough regarding oil companies from the start. You now have an almost embarrassingly large pension fund. The situation for Irish communities, however, is as in Ogoniland in Nigeria - oil is a curse,”
32. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources when it is expected that product from the Corrib gas fields will be available to the consumer; the degree to which planning and licensing requirements have now been complied with; the issues if any, outstanding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2567/12]
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Pat Rabbitte): Completion of the development works by the developer is the principal factor that will determine the date for first gas. Pending such completion, it is not possible to state a date for when gas from the Corrib gas field will become available.
The Corrib Project requires a number of statutory permissions in order for the developer to construct, operate and maintain the development. In February of last year, the then Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources granted consent to the Corrib Partners pursuant to Section 40 of the Gas Act, 1976 and Section 13 of the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act, 1960 to construct, but not commission, the Corrib Gas Pipeline, subject to 47 conditions.
The Deputy might also note that other licences and permissions beyond my statutory remit, including planning permission, Foreshore Licence and an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Licence are also required with respect to the construction and operation of the Corrib Gas Pipeline. I understand that all of the relevant permits have now been granted. Legal challenges to the consents granted pursuant to both the Gas and Petroleum Acts and the Planning Permission granted by An Bord Pleanála were settled towards the end of last year. Works on the development commenced last summer. It is estimated that construction of the onshore section of the pipeline, including the construction of a 5 km tunnel, will take in the region of three years. First gas cannot therefore reasonably be anticipated before 2014.