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New technology 'not for Corrib'

The Irish Times
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Áine Ryan
A new gas-processing technology, used by Shell offshore in Malaysia, was debated at the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) hearing into the issuing of an integrated pollution prevention control licence, which resumed yesterday in Belmullet.
An expert witness for Shell E&P Ireland argued that the innovative Twister technology, which condenses and separates water from hydrocarbons and natural gas, was not suitable for the remote Corrib field and would not reduce the overall "footprint" of the project.
Shell senior process engineer, James McBrien, said that Corrib's hostile conditions, coupled with drilling requirements, made it impractical to use the technology on an unmanned field.
"Given the gas composition, and when environmental and safety impacts are considered, a subsea tieback to an onshore gas processing facility is the best available technique for developing the Corrib field," said Mr McBrien in his submission.
He was responding to an objection which argued that Shell had a responsibility to inform the EPA of Twister and as to "why it had not been considered" for Corrib.
Micheál Ó Seighín, one of the Rossport Five, asked Mr McBrien if he would accept that this alternative was best for the community.
"I'm not in a position to comment on your valid concerns," said Mr McBrien.
Shell to Sea campaigner John Monaghan asked Corrib project manager Gerry Costello had Shell ever considered offshore, unmanned platforms at the concept stage and their positive impact on levels of emissions.
Mr Costello said it would have been discussed but the consideration was not mentioned in the environmental impact statement, which outlined the suitability of the onshore option.
He also said that "emissions from a shallow-water platform were considered to be considerably higher than from an onshore platform".
Aspects of Shell's security of supply of Corrib gas were also challenged.
The hearing continues today.
© 2007 The Irish Times

Posted Date: 
27 April 2007 - 5:54pm