"The government has relinquished control over the offshore areas of our industry. Norway was tough regarding oil companies from the start. You now have an almost embarrassingly large pension fund. The situation for Irish communities, however, is as in Ogoniland in Nigeria - oil is a curse,”
25 November 2002
Plans to bring ashore a 15-year supply of natural gas from the newly discovered Corrib Field off the Mayo coast are under scrutiny at a re-convened An Bord Pleanála oral hearing in Ballina today.
The Board has asked Enterprise Energy, the company behind the venture, to give it additional information on the environmental impact and the safety of the project.
Enterprise Energy, now a subsidiary of Shell, wants to bring the gas ashore on the north Mayo coast and treat it in a €150m terminal nine miles inland at Bellanaboy.
Objections by lobby groupsLocal residents, environmental, farming and inshore fishing lobby groups want to prevent the terminal being built at the site. They say the bogland location is unsuitable and that the terminal will present health and safety hazards. They are demanding that the company treat and clean the gas at the well head, 70km offshore.
Enterprise Energy will today try to convince An Bord Pleanála that the site is suitable, that the danger of a peatslide is 'negligible' and that the terminal will not be a danger to the locality.
It will also be pointing out that any directive to treat the gas on a platform at sea would make the entire project 'unviable' as it would cost an extra €360 million and would increase annual operating costs by 60%.