“The overall impression given by the internal Garda investigative process was that complaints or matters of concern were put through a process of filtration or distillation so that, by the end of the process, any matter of concern had been removed as a form of impurity, and only what was good was found to remain.”
Potential hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and refining of gas drawn from the Kinsale and Corrib gas fields will be monitored by the State’s energy regulator before the end of next year.
Fines of up to €3 million or imprisonment for up to three years may be imposed for breaches, according to the Commission for Energy Regulation in a document published yesterday.
It promises “extensive” monitoring and enforcement of the new safety system, which will apply to both onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction, including shale gas “fracking”, if licensed here.
The controversial “fracking” technique is currently the subject of a second study by the Environmental Protection Agency, which will inform the approach to be taken by Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte.
Penalties for breaches of the commission’s new safety system will include an immediate suspension of activities on foot of an emergency direction order or a court application.
Production could be halted altogether if developers lose their safety permit.