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Bringing the Pipeline Back to Statoil - The Shell to Sea Campaign continues
rights, freedoms and repression |
Friday April 07, 2006 20:20 by Shell to Sea - Dublin Shell to Sea dublinshelltosea at gmail dot com 0876181620
Shell to Sea today attempted to return a section of the dangerous experimental corrib gas pipeline to the Statoil Office at the IFSC
A large group of Shell to Sea activists attempted to return a section of the Corrib Gas pipeline to the Statoil Office at the IFSC today, as part of a campaign to draw public attention to Statoil's role in supporting Shell in their continuing attempts to install a dangerous experimental raw-gas pipeline in North Mayo.
The Gardaí, supported by a large number of private secirity guards, prevented the pipeline being brought into the office, and many office workers from the surrounding businesses came out to watch the stand off.
Normally activists are not able to even leaflet in the IFSC, since it is private property, but today leaflets were handed out, stickers were put up, and the security guards were powerless to interfere with the protest. For a lot of the workers in the financial services district, the protest provided a colourful distraction from the demands of their office jobs.
No one from Statoil was prepared to meet with the protesters or take delivery of the pipeline however, although one Statoil Executive did come to the phone, to say that the building security guards would not let any of the protesters enter, and he wasn't interested in leaving the building, since didn't feel there was anything to be gained by speaking to people in group situations, because he'd had bad experiences before.
He went on to say that the Irish people should be satisfied with the deal that their government had got for them, where they receive 25% tax, although he conceded that since the billions of euros spent in exploration can be written off, it will be many years before a cent of tax is paid, if ever.
Shell to Sea plan further protests on Norwegian Constitution Day, May 17th.
Statoil owns 36.5% of the Corrib Field, with Shell having a 45% take and Marathon Oil 18.5%.
Norway owns 70.5% of STATOIL. Therefore the Norwegian state will own over 1/3 of the gas passing through the high-pressure pipeline in Rossport while the people of Ireland will get nothing. Norwegians will get new schools, roads, hospitals and other infrastructure projects because of the money from the Irish gas, while the Irish taxpayer recieives nothing, and the people of Mayo are asked to live with a dangerous experimental scheme which blights their community.
From 1975 there was a tax rate of 50% for oil and gas companies, an automatic 50% state take in any commercial well and royalties of 6%-7%.
In 1987, after lobbying by the companies, Fianna Fail got rid of the 50% stake and removed the royalties. In 1992 after further lobbying they reduced the tax rate to 25% and 100% tax write-offs were introduced, meaning that companies can now subtract their costs from their tax bill. Dick Spring, of the Labour Party, called this an act of economic treason.
In 1996 the licence for the Corrib gas field was granted to Enterprise Energy Ireland, a subsidiary of Enterprise Oil, which has since been bought out by Shell. The consortium also includes Statoil and Marathon Oil.
Enterprise Oil held major fundraising events for Fianna Fáil at the Galway Races in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. Other contractors involved are also major Fianna Fáil donors. Minister Frank Fahey granted them licences before the planning procedures were over and gave them 400 acres of state forest on which to build the refinery. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has had many meetings with Shell on this issue.The deal is that the pipelines, running to Dublin and Scotland will be constructed by the state while a great deal of the infrastructure, new roads and bridges is already being built by the state.
Some of the gas that is not exported will be purchased back by the state, at the full commercial rate.
According to Mike Cunningham, a former director of Statoil Exploration (Ireland): ‘No other country in the world has gioven such favourable terms as Ireland’. In other places in Europe, the state take can be 55% or even 79% of a field.
The Shell to Sea Campaign wants Statoil to reconsider their activities in Ireland, their business associations with Shell and their cosy relations with our government. If they won't do it, the Norwegian people should demand that they do.