Friday, 18 May 2012

Visit to Corrib Project in Mayo

The largest project currently under construction in Ireland is the Corrib Project in Mayo led by Shell E & P Ireland Ltd  (SEPIL) partnered also by Statoil and Vermillion - collectively called the Corrib Gas Partners.

This project at peak production will supply 60% of the nation's natural gas and overall will contribute €6billion to Ireland's GDP over its lifespan according to Goodbody Economic Consultants commissioned by Shell. Over the next three years the project will invest €400million in Mayo sustaining the equivalent of 382 full time jobs and 450 indirect jobs.

Overall Corrib Development Project
I was therefore very pleased to lead an Engineers Ireland visit to the site supported also by The Energy Institute, IBEC and Mayo County Council. The visit was kindly organised by our West Region chairman Professor Padraic O'Donoghue of NUIG and attended also by Engineers Ireland Director General John Power and Dept of Communications Energy and Natural Resources Chief Technical Adviser Bob Hanna.

Seated from left to right: Neil O'Carroll (MD of Conoco Philips), Chair of IBEC Energy Policy Committee; Prof Pádraic O'Donoghue (NUIG), Chairman of Western Regional Branch of EI; Brendan Butler, Corrib Deputy Project Director, Shell E&P Ireland Limited; PJ Rudden, President of Engineers Ireland; John Power, Director General, Engineers Ireland; Gerry Campbell, Corrib Project Director, Shell E&P Ireland Limited; Erik O'Donovan, IBEC; David Taylor, Chairman of the Energy Institute. Standing, from left: Brendan Mulligan (Údarás na Gaeltachta), Western Regional Branch of EI; Neil Walker, IBEC, Energy Policy Committee; Padraic Fogarty (Tobin Engineering), Western Branch of EI; Wolfgang Probst, Operations Manager, Shell E& P Ireland Limited; Pat McHale, Mayo County Council; Simon Stanton, Commercial Manager, Shell E&P Ireland Limited; Pat Downes, Director of Bord na Móna; Bob Hanna, Chief Technical Advisor, DCENR; Muredach Tuffy (Mayo County Council), Western Regional Branch of Engineers Ireland
The visit was hosted by Gerry Campbell SEPIL Project Director responsible for planning construction and commissioning of the project. Gerry was assisted by his colleagues Brendan Butler, Simon Stanton and Wolfgang Probst. We firstly visited Bellanaboy Gas Terminal and then the Aughoose Tunnelling Compound where construction is well advanced. The Terminal, Offshore Pipeline and subsea wells are complete; only the 8.3km long Onshore Pipeline now remains to be constructed. Approximately 4.9km of the Onshore Pipeline will be installed within a 4.2m diameter tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay.  Tunnelling will start at Aughoose in late 2012 and it is expected that the tunnel will be completed in approximately 15 months. Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) are often named – the Corrib TBM is named Fionnuala after one of the Children of Lír - Sruwaddacon Bay features in this famous Irish legend. It is anticipated that the Corrib Onshore Pipeline will be completed by late 2014 when ‘First Gas’ will arrive onshore.

Broadhaven Bay leading into Sruwaddacon Bay on the right
It's been a long and difficult and indeed contentious project over the past 12 years. It is however very obvious to all visitors that there is a genuine commitment to complete the project to the highest safety standards and in partnership with the local community.

It will also be built fully in accordance with the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), An Bord Pleanála and the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER).

On both sites we visited, the high standard of safety was clear at every turn as the complexity of construction and operational features were explained to us by Shell personnel. The site has a fantastic safety record when one considers the level of activity in a relatively confined area.

We wish the project well to completion.

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