Natural Resources
 

Corrib Gas Field Development

Corrib Gas Pipeline Application - Decision

Corrib Gas Field Development Project - Application Under S40 of the Gas Act as Amended for the Consent to Construct an Upstream Gas Pipeline

Corrib Gas Field Development Project - Addendum of Revisions to the Approved Plan of Development

Letter of Consent - Consent to Construct an Upstream Gas Pipeline

Letter of Consent - Addendum of Revisions to the approved Plan of Development

Review of the 2010 Corrib Gas Pipeline - EIS Submission (Environ Report)

Report for Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources - Corrib Pipeline (Entec Report)

Corrib Gas Field - Consent to Construct Upstream Line Works (Petroleum Affairs Division Technical Section Recommendation)

Corrib Gas Field - Plan of Development Addendum (Petroleum Affairs Division Technical Section Recommendation)

To assist the public in understanding the decision to grant consent to the application to construct the Corrib Gas Pipeline, the submission to the Minister which sets out the assessment process and recommendation to the Minister is at the link below.

Submission & Appendices to Minister

History and Statutory Consent

The Corrib Gas Field was discovered off the west coast of Ireland in 1996. Approximately 70% of the size of the Kinsale Head field, it has an estimated producing life of just over 15 years.

The Corrib project was formly managed by Enterprise Energy Ireland Limited and is now being developed by Shell Exploration & Production Ireland Limited (SEPIL), Statoil Exploration (Ireland) Limited and Vermilion Resources (Ireland) Limited, SEPIL will act as Operator of the Corrib Gas Field.

Under the Section 40 consent, the Corrib Gas Pipeline project consists of 7 Phases which can be viewed here.


Original Statutory Permissions

In 2001 the Corrib Developers sought a number of consents and approvals to develop the Corrib Project. These included:

An application to the (then) Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (the “Minister”) for a Petroleum Lease pursuant to section 13 of the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960, (“POMD Act”), as amended. The Plan of Development submitted sets out the basis for the project, the reasons behind the selection of the appropriate development option, and a comprehensive and technical outline of the project and how it would operate. The Plan of Development is a large and technically complex account of the entirety of the project, how it interacts with other entities, and the precise technical details of its operation. On 15 November 2001 the Minister and the Minister for Finance granted the Petroleum Lease to the Corrib Developers.

An application was submitted to the Minister on 21 November 2001 for approval of a draft Plan of Development pursuant to the POMD Act 1960 and the Petroleum Lease. On 15 April 2002 the Minister granted consent to the Plan of Development.

An application to the Minister for consent to construct a pipeline pursuant to section 40 of the Gas Act 1976, as amended (“Pipeline Authorisation”), was also submitted in November 2001. The application was accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement. On the 15 April 2002 the Minister granted the Pipeline Authorisation to the Corrib Developers under Section 40 of the Gas Act, 1976.

An application to the Minister for a consent under Section 5 of the Continental Shelf Act 1968, as amended (“Continental Shelf Act Authorisation”) was submitted in April 2001. On 15 April 2002 the Continental Shelf Act Authorisation was granted to the Corrib Developers by the Minister.

An application to the Minister for a Foreshore Licence under section 3 of the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended (“Foreshore Licence”) was submitted. The application was accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement. On 17 May 2002 the Foreshore Licence was granted to the Corrib Developers by the Minister. Further information on the Foreshore Licence is available here.

The Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources requested that the Marine Licence Vetting Committee (“MLVC”) examine all environmental aspects of the Corrib Gas Field development proposed by the then developer Enterprise Energy Ireland Ltd. The report of the MLVC can be found here.

Environmental Monitoring Group

The establishment of an Environmental Monitoring Group (“EMG”) was one of the 24 conditions attaching to the original consent under Section 40 of the Gas Act 1976 dated 15 April 2002. The group meets monthly and meeting reports can be viewed here.

Other Relevant Consents

In addition to the statutory consents granted by the (then) Minister of Marine and Natural Resources, the following original consents are also relevant to the project as a whole:

Planning Permission for Onshore Terminal

Planning permission for the onshore terminal, accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement, was sought from the Local Authority in April 2001, and its decision to grant permission was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála. The Bord refused the application on the basis of issues around the stability of large amounts of peat stored on site. On 22 October 2004 Planning Permission was granted by An Bord Pleanála, in response to a subsequent application for the gas terminal and associated peat deposition site subject to 42 conditions.

Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Licence

An application was also made for an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Licence (“IPPC Licence”). An IPPC licence was granted by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) in November 2007. Further details on the IPPC licence can be found here.

Establishment of the Technical Advisory Group

In mid 2005, following concerns expressed by members of the community in the area in which the project is located, the Corrib Developers agreed to suspend works, pending the outcome of an independent safety review. The Technical Advisory Group (“TAG”) was appointed by the Minister to deal with two distinct elements of the Corrib project. The first of these was to administer a thorough and independent safety review of the onshore upstream section of the Corrib gas pipeline. Following a tender competition, Advantica, a UK consulting company was chosen, to conduct the safety review. The second was to put in place and administer an upgraded monitoring and inspection regime for the pipeline. Further details on TAG and related publications can be found here.

Background

In the meantime a mediator (Mr. Peter Cassells) appointed by the Minister, had engaged in a seven month period of consultation with the community in the region and SEPIL. While unable to reach an agreement between the parties, he did make a series of recommendations on the issues. One of these recommendations was “that SEPIL modify the route of the pipeline in the vicinity of Rossport to address community concerns regarding proximity to housing”.

The Corrib Developers agreed to do so and following a route selection process involving several months of public consultation, a proposed new route was selected by the Corrib Developers for the gas pipeline between landfall and the terminal.

Following the new route selection, SEPIL submitted an application in March 2008 for a new Pipeline Authorisation and an amended Plan of Development to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

In January 2009 this application was withdrawn with a new application submitted to the Minister on the 9 February 2009. SEPIL’s decision to modify the route of the pipeline between landfall and the terminal resulted in further applications to:

An Bord Pleanála - Planning Permission

Under Section 182C of the Planning and Development Acts, 2000 to 2007 (as inserted by the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act, 2006), accompanied by an Environment Impact Statement, SEPIL applied for planning permission. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is a statutory consultee under this process.

Applications for Compulsory Acquisitions Orders relating to the Corrib pipeline application have also been made under this process.

All existing planning permissions issued by An Bord Pleanála (http://www.pleanala.ie/) in respect of the Corrib Gas Field Development can be viewed on their website.

Foreshore Licence- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 

An application accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement was made to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/) for a new or amended Foreshore Licence, details of which can be viewed on that Departments website.

Current Status

On 2 November 2009 An Bord Pleanála informed the developers of the Corrib Gas Project that it could not approve the application to the Board made under the Strategic Infrastructure Act and invited Shell to modify the pipeline route.

Shell now propose a route modification along the lines suggested by an Bord Pleanála and have submitted a new application under Section 40 of the Gas Act 1976 with supporting EIS. This modified route also results in a new application for a Foreshore Licence from the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

As part of SEPIL's 2010 application to An Bord Pleanála, an Oral Hearing commenced in Belmullet, Co. Mayo on 24 August 2010. The following are the Opening and Closing Statements made at the Oral Hearing on behalf of the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources:

Opening Statements

Closing Statements

National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI)

The Department’s opening statement references the advice of the National Standards Authority of Ireland’s advice with regard to what the appropriate standard(s) to apply to the design and construction of High Pressure untreated Natural Gas Pipelines are. This advice is attached below.

 


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Last Updated:20/10/2011
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