New Onshore Corrib Gas Pipeline Route Announced: Pipeline twice as far from occupied housing than original route

Thursday 17th April 2008

RPS, the consultants appointed by Shell E& P Ireland Ltd (SEPIL) announced today that they have identified the preferred route for the Corrib Onshore Gas Pipeline. "Route C1" has been identified following 11 months of continuous, comprehensive and transparent public consultation. Route C1 is twice as far away from occupied housing compared to the previously approved route. It therefore clearly addresses Mr. Peter Cassells recommendation in his mediation report (July, 2006) to modify the route of the pipeline in the vicinity of Rossport in response to community concerns.

The route is approximately 9.2km long and will come ashore at Glengad before crossing Sruwaddacon Bay into Rossport, where it continues in a north-easterly direction. It then tracks south-easterly through the Rossport commonage and along the boundary of the Glenamoy Bog Complex Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The route then crosses Sruwaddacon Bay for a second time before continuing onwards to the Bellanaboy Gas Terminal.

The objective of the 14-month route selection process was to identify a route that struck the best balance between the competing priorities of community concerns, environmental issues and the technical issues. The public consultation process clearly showed that proximity to housing and protecting the environment were the key concerns of the local community. According to PJ Rudden, RPS Group Director Route C1 strikes this balance. In addition to this and to further enhance safety, the design pressure in the onshore pipeline will be less than half the original design pressure.

         "Identifying the preferred route has been a very challenging process, with the local community being very clear that the route should be further away from housing and the local environment should be protected in what is a very beautiful location", says PJ Rudden, Group Director, RPS. "Each route we studied had its pros and cons and Route C1 strikes the best balance between the competing priorities of community concerns, environmental issues and technical issues. It's twice as far away from occupied housing compared to previously approved route and will have minimal impact on Sruwaddacon Bay and other designated conservation sites, such as the Glenamoy Bog Complex."
Having accepted the RPS recommendation concerning Route C1, the developer, Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL) are preparing to submit an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and statutory applications in the coming days.

The final pipeline route is on display in the RPS Project Office in Seafield House, Belmullet. The local community is welcome to drop in and view the preferred route any time Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Details of the submission documentation including the EIS will be available shortly.


Notes to editors:

* Micro tunnelling techniques will be used for the two crossings of Sruwaddacon Bay thus minimising the impact on the Bay.
* Applications for consent will be made to: The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resource under the Gas Act; to An Bord Pleanála under the Strategic Infrastructure Act and to the Coastal Zones division of the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food under the Foreshore Act.
* Eight route corridors were identified in June of 2007 and a shortlist of three corridors was announced in September 2007. Following further public consultation two further corridor variations were identified in December 2007.