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Turn up the heat on Shell

category dublin | anti-capitalism | news report author Sunday April 22, 2007 22:04author by Brian Leeson - eirigi & Dublin Shell to Sea (writing in a personal capacity) Report this post to the editors

Dublin Shell to Sea has called for a ‘Day of Action’ on Frday, 27th April, outside of Shell’s Irish headquarters on Leeson Street. Here a few reasons why you should come along and make your voice heard.

So, Dublin Shell to Sea has called for a ‘Day of Action’ on Frday, 27th April, outside of Shell’s Irish headquarters on Leeson Street. Over the course of the last two years this building has been the scene of repeated protests, pickets and occupations, many of which have been reported on this website. ‘Why should I turn up on Friday morning?’ you ask, and it’s a fair question.

And there’s a good answer. You, your family, your neighbours and your friends are about to be victims of a crime; a robbery of unprecedented scale. The thieves have been patient and cunning, posing as your friends and co-opting both your political representatives and the people who are meant to protect you from robbery. These daylight robbers have laid their plans well and are currently constructing their getaway route – they intend to use a large pipeline to spirit your wealth away!

But they haven’t got away with it yet. There is still time to stop the robbery and we know where the thieves’ headquarters are. It’s from this lair that the Great Gas Robbery is directed. It is from here that the orders to imprison, to beat, to bribe and intimidate are issued.

So how big is this robbery going to be?
The exact size of the Corrib reserve and the surrounding fields has been the subject of much debate, on this website and elsewhere. Natural gas is measured in TCF (trillion cubic feet). Corrib and the surrounding fields are believed to contain somewhere between 1 TCF and 11TCF. For comparison the Kinsale field contained more then 1 TCF and supplied much of Ireland’s gas needs for twenty years.

As it is impossible to establish the exact size of the Corrib reserve it follows that it is impossible to put an exact monetary value on same. In monetary terms 1TCF of gas is worth about eight billion euros at today’s market prices. Corrib is therefore worth somewhere between eight and eighty-eight billion euros at today’s prices. So even at the lowest estimate Corrib is worth €8,000,000,000 and potentially, indeed probably, worth a multiple of that. That’s roughly €1,300 worth of gas for every man, woman and child on the island of Ireland.

Shell claims that Corrib contains roughly 1TCF, with an estimated field life of fifteen to twenty years. One can only guess at what sort of price gas will fetch in 2027.

It’s also worth noting that Corrib is only the first stage of a much broader plan to con the people of Ireland out of what is rightfully theirs. There have been a number of other potentially significant discoveries off the coast of Ireland, most noticeably the Dunquin reserve off the coast of Kerry. Providence, who along with Exxon, own the Dunquin reserve have estimated the potential of this reserve at 25TCF plus an additional four billion barrels of oil which at current prices could be worth in excess of three hundred billion euros.

All explorations for hydrocarbons in Ireland are conducted within a legislative framework developed by one Raphael Burke during his time as Minister for Energy. The fact that the people of Ireland will see virtually no benefit from their own oil and gas appears not to have bothered Mr Burke too much. Strange that.

What impact will the robbery have?
Much has been written about the potential benefits to Ireland accruing from publicly owned oil and gas reserves. Many have speculated about the positive impact that such a windfall could have on our health and education systems, and rightly so. Less has been written about the negative consequences of the status quo.

Over the course of the last four years the price of domestic gas supplied by Bord Gáis increased by 85%. At one point last winter domestic gas was actually 103% more expensive then it had been in 2003. This upward trend in prices occurred because Bord Gáis purchase gas on the international markets where the price of gas has been moving steadily upwards over the course of the last decade. Under the Burke legislation Shell, and the other energy companies, are under no obligation to sell Irish gas at a reduced rate to the people of Ireland. When the international price of gas increases so too will the price in Ireland.

This situation is exacerbated by the fact that Ireland is at the tail-end of the European gas network; a network which is increasingly reliant on gas from Russia and the Middle East. We have already seen the impact that political instability in these regions can have on gas prices.

And then there it the ESB which is moving increasingly to gas fuelled power stations, with roughly half of its electricity generation now dependent on gas. Once again the energy companies are under no obligation to sell gas to the ESB at a reduced price. Domestic ESB prices have risen by 70% since 2001.

The human cost of expensive energy is both widespread and dramatic. Fuel poverty, ‘the inability to heat the home adequately because of low household income and energy inefficient housing’ is a widespread phenomenon across Ireland. A major study in 2002 (‘Quantifying the severity of fuel poverty…’ Healy and Clinch, UCD) estimated the number of households experiencing occasional or persistent fuel poverty in the twenty-six counties at 227,000. The equivalent figure for the six counties in 2001 was 203,000 (‘Ending Fuel Poverty’ Department for Social Development). That means that over one million people in 2001 were living in houses that experience consistent or occasional fuel poverty (based on average household size of 2.4 persons).

Those experiencing fuel poverty are at increased risk, according to the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, of

• respiratory illness
• increased blood pressure and stroke
• worsening arthritis
• accidents at home
• social isolation
• impaired mental health
• adverse effects on children’s education
• adverse effects on nutrition

Every winter approximately 3,000 ‘extra’ people die in Ireland, when compared with the equivalent time period in the summer months (2,000 in the twenty-six counties and 1,000 in the six-counties). Research has also shown that fuel poverty played a major contributory role in many of these ‘excess winter deaths’. Further research has shown that, as ever, it is the old, the poor and the ill who are most likely to suffer the effects fuel poverty.

This is the real cost of the Burke legislation and the Great Gas Robbery – older people dying from preventable illness because they are afraid, or unable, to turn on their heating.

Can The Robbery Be Stopped?
The robbery of Ireland’s oil and gas will take decades to complete. At any point throughout that period the Dublin government can choose to change the terms under which the energy companies operate. Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador have all recently done just that. It would, however, be far better if those changes could be made now, before gas production from the Corrib field starts.

Shell is the lead company in the Corrib project, which itself is the lead project in the broader robbery of Ireland’s hydrocarbon reserves.

The focus of those opposed to the robbery of Ireland’s hydrocarbons should thus be twin-tracked, aiming to bring pressure to bear on both the Dublin government and Shell. This Friday it’s Shell’s turn. If you are opposed to the Great Gas Robbery you should be there at 7.30am to turn up the heat on Shell.

author by anarchoboypublication date Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And make em pay where it hurts

author by daffy duck - nonepublication date Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On Sunday, Noel Dempsey announced that the UN had agreed to extend Ireland's territorial waters to cover an area of 56,000 square kilometres, 80% of the land area of Ireland.
This is in the area known as Zone B (see attached map).
He also announced that a decision on Zone C is expected in September of tthis year.
This follows negotiations with France, Spain and the UK.
It looks like a deal may already have been done on Zone C.
Zone A (Hatton-Rockall) is being considered by negotiating teams from Faroes/Denmark, Iceland and the UK.
One look at the map will show you the extent of the areas being discussed.
One aspect of the deal agreed is interesting.
The area being handed over to Ireland does not include fishing rights.
It only applies to exploration for minerals, gas and oil.
Given that the state is getting next to nothing from the multi-national corporations that are doing the exploration, what do we stand to gain from this extension?
The answer to that is - nothing!
Is this another example of our birthright being sold from under our noses?
You can bet your bottom petro-dollar that it is!

map of zones
map of zones

author by Paul B - non-aligned socialistpublication date Mon Apr 23, 2007 17:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The sums involved are incredible - between €8 and €300 + billion. It makes the likes of the PPARS payroll system (€120 million) and the electonic voting machines (€60 million) debacles look like minor accounting errors. Its worth comparing the amount of hot air coming out of politicians on these issues and the cost over-runs on the likes of the LUAS or Port Tunnell with the deafening silence on the issue of the oil and gas giveaway.

author by Mick Stuartpublication date Mon Apr 23, 2007 21:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good article Brian, how long does the protest go on for ? Are there plans to picket Ahern and McDowell's offices as well, especially in view of the election ?

Solidarity

Mick Stuart

author by Woolypublication date Mon Apr 23, 2007 22:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Don't forget the Norwegian embassy - the weakest link in Shell/Marathon/Statoil

author by Celia Spublication date Mon Apr 23, 2007 22:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great article Brian. This campaign has to become a lot more militant. No compromise in defence of Ireland's natural resources

CS

author by Avapublication date Tue Apr 24, 2007 19:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Finally something in Dublin!
But will this be an all-day event?
As a full time student and working a 30 hour my hand-lending in this campaign has solely been handing out leaflets to everyone I know and writing letters and emails to those involved.
If I show up at 4 will there still be people around or is it just a morning thing?

author by Rev Malcolm X - Church of Marxpublication date Wed Apr 25, 2007 13:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dublin- Shell to Sea have asked people who can to be there for 7.30 am Friday 27. people can text around to spread the message.
I also believe in targetting FF politicians. and Laurel Hardy Known as Rabbitte Kenny

author by Andy Pylepublication date Wed Apr 25, 2007 20:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just a bit more info on friday's demo. Dublin Shell to Sea have upgraded Friday's protest to that of a peaceful blockade of Shell's HQ in Ireland. Here is a quote from the relevant press release

"The Dublin Shell to Sea campaign is planning a blockade to shut down
Shell E&P Ireland's offices in Dublin on Friday morning (April 27th)
to highlight the giveaway of Ireland's offshore gas. The campaign is
calling on supporters to assemble at 7.45am at the oil giant's offices
beside Leeson Street Bridge....

The timing of the planned blockade coincides with the daily blockade
of Shell's refinery site at Bellanaboy by local residents - blockades
which have been taking place every morning for the past seven months.

"Since Shell resumed work on their inland refinery site at Bellanaboy
last October, Shell to Sea campaigners have travelled from Dublin and
elsewhere to support the blockades at the site," said Finbar Dwyer of
Dublin Shell to Sea. "This time we're bringing the blockades to
Shell's doorstep here in Dublin, where the decisions are made."

Obviously the success or failure of Fridays action will be largely dependent on how many people bother their arses turning up. While appreciating that most people are normally in work/college etc on a Friday the issues involved are hugely important. Even if people cant be there for the whole day it might be an idea to take the morning off work/college etc. The most important time will be presumably be between 7.45 and 11 or 12.

author by Dublin shell to sea - Dublin Shell to Sea publication date Thu Apr 26, 2007 11:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dublin shell to sea is asking people to be there at 730. At this time we can really shut them down before they get into the building.

author by Mick Stuartpublication date Thu Apr 26, 2007 16:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for the clarifaction Andy.

author by Shell to Sea'rpublication date Thu Apr 26, 2007 16:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its tume the messgae went out very clearly,we will not let this project happen!

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