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Repeat of Rossport saga for Donegal?

BY CATHERINE COOK, The Donegal NewsFri, Dec 15, 2006
SHELL Ireland have still not ruled out the possibility of drilling for gas off the Donegal coast, according to a group from the organisation who addressed a meeting of Donegal County Council this week.
The Operations Manager, Offshore Technician and Communications Advisor spoke to Councillors at a meeting last Monday to outline Donegal's involvement with the Corrib Gas Line in Mayo. T
his is a project which has been one of the most controversial issues to emerge in Ireland in recent years and a number of Councillors expressed their concerns to the Shell deputation.
Shell currently hold two licences for exploration 150 kilometres off the coast of Donegal. Operations Manager for the Corrib Project, Mark Carrigy commented:
"We have already drilled two wells off the coast of Donegal and have had to walk away from them. It is estimated that it cost between sixty to seventy million euro to drill one well in Ireland." He added also, that there are two wells currently ready to be hooked up to the Corrib line by 2009.
"Finds have been very sporadic off Donegal between 1970-2006 and for places like Killybegs to thrive in the same way as places like Aberdeen there needs to be continuous activity, and that won't happen until something is found." he continued. Mayor of Donegal, Enda Bonner asked:
"Assuming everything works out to plan, what benefits will there be for Donegal, Donegal Airport, and particularly for Killybegs."
He replied that to date Shell had invested a considerable amount in Donegal through a number of companies who have been assisting us in drilling off the coast.
Mr Carrigy named thirteen Donegal companies, mainly based in Killybegs, who have supplied them with services during their offshore drilling operations in Donegal.
Speaking about their activities in Donegal, Mr Carrigy continued:
"We have completed a large 3D seismic survey over the recently acquired licence in the Rockall Basin and bidding for site survey work is to commence in 2007."
Inishowen-based Councillor, Bernard McGuinness asked when gas would come to Donegal.
Mr Carrigy explained: "Shell have looked at the possibility of having an inter-connector from Derry." But he added it was too early to give a definitive answer.
Mr Carrigy was also asked whether or not it would be shell's intention to build an onshore terminal in Donegal, or control operations from the terminal already in existence in Mayo.
He explained: "At this stage, it is too early to comment on the reality of an on-shore terminal for Donegal. We do know, however, that it would not be feasible to work from an offshore terminal."
Cllr Pearse Doherty expressed his opposition to Shell's handling of the situation in Mayo as well as their "appalling reputation on an international level." Cllr Doherty also put it to Mr Carrigy that Shell's involvement in Ireland would not guarantee any security of supply.
Mr Carrigy explained that he was not attending the Council meeting to defend Shell's reputation. He continued: "The export gas we would have to [ay an interconnector fee. And to anyone who has fundamental economics they would see that this simply wouldn't make sense."

Posted Date: 
15 December 2006 - 11:46am