Shell has announced the onshore section of the controversial pipeline to bring gas from the Corrib field to be processed at Bellanaboy Bridge Terminal has been successfully completed.
A 4.9 kilometre underground section of tunnel is also very near to completion.
Significant progress on the Corrib project in recent months, which has been dogged for years by community opposition and planning complications, means gas now looks almost certain to be flowing by 2015.
There are still some 1,000 people employed on the Corrib gas project in north Mayo, which a Shell spokesperson said is probably the biggest construction site in Ireland.
Following the expected completion of the tunnel this summer, employment at the site, which at the peak of the project had 1,300 workers, will begin to taper off.
However the reduction in employment numbers will be a gradual process, according to the Shell spokesperson, as there is still considerable reinstatement work to be carried out at various sites where the company has been working and tunnelling.
“These sites need to be put back to the way we found them and that will sustain jobs for a period of time,” said the spokesperson. “It will be a gradual reduction over time.”
Some 175 full-time jobs will remain in place, post first gas production, for the lifetime of the Corrib Gas Field, which is estimated at about 20 years.
Meanwhile, Shell haS also issued a statement following the broadcast of an award -winning documentary, The Pipe, on TV3 last month.
The statement describes the film as “a wonderfully-shot documentary with some fantastic scenery.”
“It tells a compelling human story but unfortunately provides little explanation of the events it chronicles,” continues the statement.
The statement also claims several well-known supporters of the project from the local area, who were interviewed at lenght for The Pipe, had their contributions edited out of the film.