Skip to main content

Unauthorised gas pipeline must be dismantled

A section of pipeline put in place by Shell E & P Ireland as part of the Corrib Gas project, but without the necessary consents, must be dismantled, the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Mr Noel Dempsey, has decided.
Earlier he had been asked by the Pro Erris Gas Group to put the dismantling of the pipeline on hold until a safety review which he had initiated was completed and a decision taken in relation to the design of the pipeline.
The gas group had also suggested that, as a penalty for the unauthorised welding of the pipeline, Shell should contribute a sum of €250,000 towards the development of local community projects, something that the company was willing to consider.
Minister Dempsey said that on October 17 the Pro Erris Gas Group called on him to request Shell to cease work on the cutting of the pipeline until the Safety Review was completed. He indicated that he would consider this request and would ascertain Shell’s views on the matter and would also seek legal advice on the PEGG proposal.
He said that a week later he was advised that there was no legal impediment to him requesting Shell to suspend cutting the pipeline. Shell, on the basis of their legal advice, had indicated that they would comply with any direction he gave.
“I have considered the matter carefully over the past week and I have now decided that, despite the willingness of Shell to accept the proposals put forward by PEGG, including the payment of €250,000 and the indications of cross community support, my original direction to Shell that remedial action should be taken to address the breach of the extant consents should stand and, as a consequence, that Shell should continue to cut the sections of pipeline which they had welded without consent.”
The Minister said that while he accepted the bona fides of those who suggested suspension of the cutting of the pipeline, he believed that in order to preserve the integrity of the regulatory regime that the directions given by him should be adhered to.
“It is helpful, particularly in the context of the proposed mediation process, that there are people from the local community who have indicated that they are prepared to look at different proposals. I hope that the mediation process will facilitate them in airing their views,” Minister Dempsey added.
At the weekend he announced the appointment of Peter Cassells as mediator to chair negotiations between Shell and the opponents of the gas onshore pipelines. “Peter Cassells is a very well-respected figure in mediation and industrial relations in Ireland. I would like to thank him for agreeing to take on this task and assure him that he will have every cooperation and assistance from me and my Department. I hope that this mediation process will help to reach a solution which will be acceptable to all,” said Minister Dempsey.

Posted Date: 
1 November 2005 - 4:20pm