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Protesters expected to appeal over Shell's Irish gas project

09-05-04 Shell's long-delayed Corrib gas project off Ireland's west coast faces more troubles after protesters said they were certain to appeal against the planning permission the project received from Mayo county council. A spokesman for An Taisce, an Irish conservation group, told that his or another group would appeal. Objectors have a month to appeal against County Mayo's decision to approve the site at Bellanaboy Bridge, after which the national planning board, the appeal body, has 18 weeks to make a decision. The project partners have been fighting since November 2000 for approval to build the onshore plant to process gas from the Corrib field, 83 km off the west coast of Ireland.

They received planning permission from Mayo county council in 2001, only to have this overturned by the planning board in April last year. Shell then revised its plans. Shell is optimistic its new plan, which involves removing 450,000 cm of peat to a site 11 km away to cut the risks of polluting the local waterways, should receive a warmer reception if it goes to the planning board. Shell Ireland managing director Andy Pyle said: 'It has been a long, and at times, very difficult process, but we remain committed to getting the project under way as soon as possible.'

Shell took over the operation of the Corrib field after its 2001 acquisition of Enterprise Oil, which discovered the field in 1996. The field could feed the Irish gas grid for between 15 to 20 years, lessening the country's 82 % dependence on gas imports, a situation set to worsen owing to declining production from the country's Kinsale head field, operated by US firm Marathon.
Its importance has increased because of difficulties at its main rival, the Seven Heads project operated by Ramco Energy, which has produced far less than expected since it began operations in December.


Posted Date: 
9 March 2005 - 9:52pm