Shell E&P Ireland says it is still on schedule to have gas flowing from the Corrib Gas Field within the next six months.
An 800 metre section of a water discharge pipe, which will carry treated surface water from the terminal at Bellanaboy in north Mayo 12 kilometres out to sea once the plant is opertional, had come loose from the seabed and was floating on the surface of Broadhaven Bay two weeks ago.
However, the problem has not had any impact on the target date to have gas flowing by the middle of this year.
A spokesperson for Shell E&P Ireland said the ducting has now been temporarily repositioned on the seabed and remediation work is ongoing to find a more permanent solution within the next few weeks.
“It is a plastic ducting pipe, 10 inches in diameter, and has no impact at all on the gas pipeline,” said the spokesperson.
“We don’t expect this to have an impact in terms of first gas,” he added.
The Corrib gas project has been one of the most controversial infrastructural developments in the history of the Irish state.
The project, which involves an 83 kilometre off shore gas pipeline and an eight kilometre onshore pipeline, became bogged down in community opposition 10 years ago when a number of local people refused to allow Shell to carry out work on their lands along the then permitted pipeline route.
While much of the local community opposition to the project has subsided, getting the gas flowing will not bring to an end entirely to the opposition and scrutiny the project has faced, according to a spokesperson for the group Shell to Sea.
Terence Conway said Shell to Sea will continue to oppose Shell’s presence in north Mayo, even after gas starts flowing.
“We are commited to keeping our campaign going,” he said on Wednesday. “We intend to hold the state to account for their shortcomings on what has happened here.”
He says the group are now concentrating on trying to bring about a European enquiry into the Corrib gas saga.
The Corrib Gas Field was discovered in 1996 and the Corrib project partners are Shell E&P Ireland Ltd., Statoil Exploration and Vermillion Energy.
The field is located 83 kilometres off the north Mayo coast.
At peak production, the gas field is expected to meet 60 per cent of Ireland’s gas needs and provide an energy supply for up to 20 years.