"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.”
December 14th, 2006http://www.donegalpost.com
The search for reserves of black gold (oil) and gas off the Donegal coast is likely to be stepped up again next year. As reserves around the world head towards depletion in the next few decades, oil and gas producers are desperate to harness the world’s few remaining potential hot spots – one of which they hope will be found off Donegal. At present, over a dozen firms, mainly in the Killybegs area, are engaged in providing land support and technical services as part of the Corrib gas development. The port was also used extensively for other offshore oil drilling prospects in recent years. Carrickfinn Airport is also used to bring in employees from Scotland by planes who are then flown out by helicopter to rigs, supply vessels and support ships. During the summer Shell completed a new seismic survey and has now acquired a number of licences to further explore off the north-west coast. Addressing members of Donegal Co. Council on the Corrib gas project this week, company representatives said that two previous wells drilled in the Dooish basin, off Donegal, had not been successful. However, the firm is continuing to closely examine waters that remain relatively unexplored and has acquired new licences to drill around 125km off the north-west Donegal coast. Meanwhile, Mark Carrigy, Operations Manager for the Corrib project – who hails from Letterkenny - highlighted the important role being played by Donegal companies in the Corrib gas development. He also revealed that the cost of oil exploration off places like Donegal continues to be very high, partly due to the extremely difficult weather conditions, and relatively poor infrastructural support. The strike rate is also poor off Ireland, at around one in 30 wells drilled, compared with one in six off Norway. Each well can cost in excess of €60 million to drill, but with the huge dividends that would accrue from a good strike, such figures are only ‘a drop in the ocean’.