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- Section 40 Application
The Corrib Gas Partners and RPS Group are currently in the process of modifying the onshore gas pipeline route as recommended in the Peter Cassells Report, July, 2006 . In January 2007, SEPIL appointed RPS to provide a full range of technical services to complete re-routing, planning, environmental assessment, permitting and construction management for the re-route of the onshore gas pipeline.
In 2001, SEPIL submitted an environmental impact study in 2001 to seek consent for a preferred onshore gas pipeline route, which would connect to a terminal in Bellanaboy, Co. Mayo. This application for consent was submitted, under Section 40 of the Gas Act, to the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and consent was subsequently granted in April 2002.
In October 2004, An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for the Bellanaboy gas terminal. By the end of the year, an earthworks contractor had been mobilised at the Bellanaboy terminal site, paving the way for bringing the gas ashore and ensuring an additional source of gas for Ireland for the next 15-20 years.
In August 2005, while offshore works continued, Shell announced a temporary suspension of work on the onshore section of the pipeline in order to facilitate further discussion with parties opposed to the construction of the onshore gas pipeline.
The Minister for the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources appointed Advantica Ltd., (a UK engineering consultancy firm) in October 2005 to carry out an independent safety review of the onshore section of the gas pipeline to address community concerns in relation to pipeline safety.
In November 2005, the Minister announced a formal mediation process which was set up to address concerns in relation to the Corrib project, and was led by Mr. Peter Cassells.
In January 2006, the Advantica Independent Safety Review Report on the onshore section of the Corrib pipeline was published and contained a number of recommendations, one of which limits the pressure in the onshore pipeline to 144 bar. SEPIL subsequently has confirmed that it will adhere to all recommendations in the report and will put in place measures to reduce the pressure in the onshore section of the pipeline to 144 bar or below.
In July 2006, the Cassells' report and recommendations were published, following months of discussions with the local community as well as SEPIL. The report concluded:
“We recommend that the pressure in the onshore pipeline should be limited to no greater than 144 bar”.
“I am recommending that Shell modify the route of the pipeline in the vicinity of Rossport to address community concerns regarding proximity to housing”.
In January 2007, RPS began to undertake a public consultation and route selection process in regard to finding a modified route for the Corrib onshore gas pipeline. RPS spent 11 months consulting with landowners, the local community and statutory bodies in relation to the route selection process before a preferred route was chosen.
In April 2008, applications for approval for the preferred route were submitted to An Bord Pleanála, under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006 and the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources under Section 40 of the Gas Act 1976-2000. These were subsequently withdrawn in December 2009, to allow for some minor modifications to be made to the preferred route.
In February 2009, revised applications for the Corrib onshore pipeline were made to An Bord Pleanála, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (DAFF). The new applications seek minor realignments to the preferred route and a wider route corridor. The pipeline route remains a minimum of 140 metres from currently occupied dwellings.
Engagement with landowners and the local community is ongoing and will continue right throughout the statutory approvals and construction phases.