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News Release: Shell cut refinery gas pipe they thought was a water pipe

News release - Issued by Shell to Sea - Friday 19th April 2013

-- Latest incident further example of Shell as “Neighbour from Hell” --
Shell has admitted that on Monday, the 8th April, they had to vent all the nitrogen currently in the gas pipes at the Bellanaboy refinery, after they mistakenly cut a gas pipe. Shell claim the reason for this was the gas pipe was mistaken for a water pipe in the refinery and was cut.  The gas pipes on the refinery site are currently filled with nitrogen to inhibit corrosion.   The incident only came to light because a local resident contacted Midwest Radio with details of the incident.   Shell confirmed the incident took place one week after the event.

Commenting on the incident, Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway stated “How can Shell possibly claim to have mistakenly cut a gas pipe inside the refinery, and then try to pass off the seriousness of the incident? It would be hard to mistake a water pipe for a gas pipe in a normal house, it should be impossible to do that in a refinery.”
Shell to Sea spokesperson Maura Harrington stated “This incident only came to light when a local person alerted the local radio station, MidWest Radio.  This had happened a week beforehand and Shell, despite all their talk of being ‘good neighbours’ said nothing to anyone”.

“A whistleblower email received by Shell to Sea expressed concern about the use of unqualified personnel at Bellanaboy and also stated that the drinking culture on site had become a big problem.  The longer this farce continues, the worse it gets”[2]

Terence Conway continued “This incident could only happen in a situation where Shell have become so used the absence of regulation, that they don't even need to pretend to follow proper safety procedures.  The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’.  Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field.  If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”  


For more information contact:        
Maura Harrington:  
Terence Conway:!/ShellToSea



The Shell to Sea Campaign has three main aims:

1) That any exploitation of the Corrib gas field be done in a safe way that will not expose the local community in Erris to unnecessary health, safety and environmental risks.
2) To renegotiate the terms of the Great Oil and Gas Giveaway, which sees Ireland’s 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent* off the West Coast go directly to the oil companies, with the Irish State retaining a 0% share, no energy security of supply and only 25% tax on profits against which all costs can be deducted.

3) To seek justice for the human rights abuses suffered by Shell to Sea campaigners due to their opposition to Shell’s proposed inland refinery.