Natural gas flowed for the first time from the controversial Corrib Gas Field today (Wednesday, December 29 ). The project which has been dogged with controversy for many years received the final approvals it needed for the gas to flow from the Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Alex White on Tuesday (December, 28 ) evening.
On Wednesday afternoon shortly after 3pm, Shell confirmed in a statement that gas had started to flow from the gas field located 83 kilometres off the cost to it’s refinery in north Mayo. Andy Brown, Shell’s Upstream International Director said that “Today’s announcement is a positive step for our gas portfolio,” adding that “It is also good news for Ireland as the provision of Corrib gas improves security of supply for the Irish energy market. Delivering gas from Corrib will bring many long term benefits to the Irish economy and consumers.”
However the decision to give the final approvals needed to get the gas flowing was criticised by the Shell to Sea group, they issued a statement saying that ‘the granting by Alex White of consent to operate the Corrib Gas pipeline - desperate and disgraceful. Permission was granted despite Shell's EPA consent to operate the Corrib Gas refinery currently being admitted for hearing before the High Court.’
Terence Conway from Shell to Sea stated "Over the years campaigners have been constantly lectured by politicians about the need to respect the laws of the land and courts, but again with Corrib we are seeing there is one law for them; another law for us.
Minister White included 20 conditions with his consent, but as we've seen previously Shell treat conditions by the regulatory authorities with total contempt."
Mr Conway continued saying "It is the height of hypocrisy for Minister Alex White to talk, in his press release, about transitioning to a low carbon economy where he announced he was giving consent to operate a refinery to Shell, one of the most destructive companies the planet has ever seen”
On Tuesday evening, after the final approvals were granted by Minister White, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny welcomed the decision saying in a statement that “The Corrib natural gas field will meet on average 42% of the all-island gas demand over its first two years of operation, and will add to GDP by substituting for imported gas.
In this context, the development of indigenous gas resources will deliver significant and sustained benefits, particularly in terms of enhanced security of supply, import substitution, national and local economic development, and fiscal return.”