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Bord Pleanala protects Shell

Rudiger - RSC

Here is a video of the audio of a clip recorded from the An Bord Pleanala (ABP) Oral Hearing into the onshore pipeline for the Corrib Gas Project. Although it is very technical in detail in gives an insight into some of the oral hearing and also the way that some language is used to fudge, confuse, protect and hide.

In this clip ABP pipeline consultant Nigel Wright is questioning Shell’s technical experts on their decision to continue with their plan of having a Landfall Valve Installation (LVI) to at Glengad. The LVI (which is about 80m onshore at Glengad) is supposed to limit the onshore pressure for the remainder of the onshore pipeline. But if Shell are to believed that they can now better control the offshore pressure (than they claimed to be able up to 2010), the LVI seems to introduce more risk into the project as it adds complexity and risk of failure.

Two quotes from Nigel Wright during the exchange are worth picking out
“I'm just wondering if we have got into a design rut here, a groove, because of the previous operating conditions and that's driven the thinking and it is a chance to stand back on that thinking and saying have you looked at the scenario that Mr. Malcolm has painted”

“What I'm taking from all of this, that you perhaps haven't looked at this strategy and given it the required depth of thought that perhaps it needs”

For the An Bord Pleanala pipeline expert to say to Shell that he felt they hadn't given the “required depth of thought” to how Shell will handle the gas pressures that are proposed to hit landfall should surely have been a monumental statement.

However instead of that, what happened was that the An Bord Pleanala oral hearing Inspector, Martin Nolan interrupted Mr Wrights questioning, criticised Mr Wright questioning for having gotten “itself a little bit slightly off” and then having a word off-mic with Mr Wright.
The result was line of questioning was broken, and the pressure was let off Shell. Ultimately it also showed Shell that if they got in real bother there was someone there to protect them.

It should be remembered that previously Shell have tried to control who is assigned as planning inspector by requesting that Bord Pleanala didn't assign Kevin Moore to Corrib. An Bord Pleanala claimed that their decision not to assign Kevin Moore wasn't influenced by Shell. However Shell can't have been too unhappy with the level of protection that the assigned Inspector Martin Nolan gave to them during the oral hearings in particular in the 2010 one.
See related link:

The transcript of the audio clip can be found here:
Or the full audio from the LVI questioning session and be found here:

Both come from the audio and transcripts provided by Bord Pleanala