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Corrib Gas pipeline route selection begins.

category mayo | environment | news report author Wednesday February 28, 2007 23:06author by Eve - Shell to Sea Report this post to the editors

Shell to Sea criteria; no raw gas pipe in Kilcommon parish

As Shell subcontractors RPS held an information evening on the pipeline route selection process and community consultation, the message from Shell to Sea campaigners was clear; the problem is not just the pipeline but the entire project.
2007_0228consultation0019.jpg

The Broadhaven Bay hotel in Belmullet was the venue last night for the latest act in the Corrib Gas drama with an information evening on rerouting the upstream section of pipeline. The evening was hosted by Shell subcontractors Rural Planning Services, the consultancy with the responsibility for rerouting the pipeline, and was the first step in the public consultation process to which Shell have pledged their commitment. Attendance was small with the usual cast of characters comprising the bulk of the crowd; Shell to Sea campaigners bearing placards and brandishing leaflets, a bevy of Shell and RPS pr lovelies and several plain clothes cops wandering around the lobby exchanging dirty looks with protesters.

The information evening was hosted by Rural Planning Services, “Ireland’s largest planning, engineering and environmental consultants.” RPS have been hired to choose a new route for the pipeline as part of the Engineering Management and Support Services (EMSS) contract which they won from Shell. According to their brochure the contract includes “a range of technical services to complete the rerouting, planning, environmental assessment, permitting and construction management of the onshore pipeline from the landfall to the reception terminal at Bellanaboy.”

according to RPS the information evening was a chance for the public to tell RPS what criteria were important to them in choosing the route. Feedback forms were provided a “route selection workshop” has been planned for late in March. I asked one of the pr ladies to elaborate, health and safety and environmental destruction being the primary concerns aired in the course of the last year by campaigners. She stressed how much RPS were interested in local knowledge, otter holes, wells and fairy forts for example. Good to know the otters will be taken care of.

A crowd of over twenty Shell to sea campaigners gathered outside the doors of the hotel, braving the inclement weather to hand out information and display placard to those attending the evening. The message from Shell to Sea was clear, “selection criteria; no raw gas in Kilcommon parish.” Several of the protesters went into the information session to more thoroughly underline their concerns to the “RPS team”. The lure of Shell provided tea and biscuits was shunned by some of the more hard core protesters. More willing to take up on the tea and biscuits were several plain clothes Gardai also in attendance. The cops spent most of the evening wandering around the hotel lobby, and hanging out at the protest. It was unclear whether the guards were on duty. In good cop bad cop mode, one Garda attempted to engage in small chat, extolling the virtues of Poland to a Polish protester while another (noted for depositing campaigners in drains) scowled on.

The route selection information session has signaled the re-emergence of the pipeline issue, the facet of the project that first brought the project to prominence with the jailings of the Rossport 5 in June 2005. The routing of the high pressure upstream pipeline through a village, near homes and under roads was widely condemned on account of the unacceptable risks to health and safety posed. In the aftermath of the Cassell’s report Shell announced their intention to “modify the route of the onshore section of the Corrib gas pipeline in the vicinity of Rossport to address community concerns relating to the proximity of the pipeline to housing.” The project splitting mentality that has allowed Shell to dodge the real issues surrounding the entire Corrib project continues. Preparatory work at the refinery site is ongoing in anticipation of peat removal scheduled to begin before Easter, while no pipeline route exists and a cursory glance at a map of the area reveals the severe unlikelihood of one being found.

While the original pipeline route was exempt from planning permission the new selection will undergo the planning process. Permission for the pipeline will be sought under the brand new Strategic Infrastructure signed into legislation late in 2006. The act aims “to provide, in the interests of the common good, for the making directly to An Bord Pleanála of applications for planning permission in respect of certain proposed developments of strategic importance to the State; to make provision for the expeditious determination of such applications.” In doing so the act removes vital layer of local democracy from the development consent process. It has been described as a fast tracking mechanism for unwanted projects like Corrib by its critics.

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com

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author by Keyboard Warriorpublication date Thu Mar 01, 2007 01:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

With offices all over the shop:

Related Link: http://www.rpsgroup.com/content.asp?contentid=1349&secid=locations
author by Virtual Keyboardistpublication date Thu Mar 01, 2007 01:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The RPS Board currently comprises four Executive and four Non-Executive Directors including the Chairman. The Executive Directors are responsible for the management of all the Group’s business activities. The Non-Executive Directors are all independent of management and contribute independent judgement and extensive knowledge and experience to the proceedings of the Board. The Chairman is also an Independent Non-Executive.

The Board’s principal tasks are to formulate strategy and to monitor and control operating and financial performance in pursuit of the Group’s strategic objectives.

The differing roles of Chairman and Chief Executive are acknowledged and are separate. The key functions of the Chairman are to conduct Board meetings and meetings of shareholders and to ensure that all Directors are properly briefed in order to take a full and constructive part in Board discussions. The Chief Executive is required to develop and lead business strategies and processes to enable the Group’s business to meet the requirements of its shareholders.

The Board is assisted by four committees – Audit Committee, Remuneration Committee, Nomination Committee and the Corporate Governance Committee. The Board regularly considers its own performance and the matters reserved to it. It also monitors its performance against Group strategy and external parameters.
Brook Land Independent Non-Executive Chairman

Brook Land was formerly a partner of and is now a consultant to Nabarro Nathanson. He is Senior Non-Executive Director of Signet Group plc, Non-Executive Chairman of Medal Entertainment & Media plc and a director of a number of private companies. He was appointed to the Board in 1997 and is serving a second three year term which expires at the AGM in 2004. Mr Land has accepted an invitation from the Board (following a rigorous review) to serve a further three year term in this role. He lives in London.
Dr Alan S Hearne Chief Executive

Alan Hearne holds a degree in economics and a doctorate in environmental planning. Following a period of academic research into environmental planning he joined RPS in 1978, became a Director in 1979 and Chief Executive in 1981. Alan Hearne was the plc Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001 and was made a Companion of the Institute of Management in 2002. He lives in Oxfordshire.
Gary Young Finance Director

Gary Young graduated from Southampton University in 1982 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1986 with Price Waterhouse. Before joining RPS he held a number of financial director roles including positions within Rutland Trust plc and AT&T Capital. He joined RPS in September 2000 and was appointed to the Board in November 2000. He lives in Oxfordshire.
Andrew R G Troup Executive Director

Andrew Troup graduated from Reading University in 1979 and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1986. He joined RPS in the same year and became a member of the Board in 1991. He lives in Oxfordshire.
Peter B Dowen Executive Director

Peter Dowen graduated from Leeds School of Architecture in 1972 and qualified as a Chartered Architect in 1973. After a period in private practice he became a director of Brian Clouston and Partners in 1980 before joining RPS in 1989 when he was appointed to the Board. He lives in County Durham.
Phil Williams Executive Director

Phil Williams graduated from Bath University in 1975 and was awarded a doctorate in geophysics in 1978. After a period working in the oil and gas and defence sectors he became Managing Director of Hydrosearch in 1983. He joined RPS when Hydrosearch was acquired in September 2003 and was appointed to the Board in December 2005. He lives in Surrey.

Roger Devlin Senior Independent Non-Executive Director

Roger Devlin is Managing Director of Hilton Hotels Corporation. He is Chairman of Baydrive, a Henderson Private Capital business, and he is also an adviser to Phoenix Private Equity. He read law at Oxford and then joined Hill Samuel where he became Head of Mergers and Acquisitions. He joined the Board on 29th April 2002 and is serving an initial three year term. He lives in London.
Karen McPherson Independent Non-Executive Director

Karen graduated from Aberdeen University in 1973 with an MA Honours in Public International Law and International Relations. Karen also has a BA Honours in Psychotherapy & Counselling from the Metanoia Institute in London. She began her career in Human Resources and Industrial Relations working in the oil and chemical sectors. She later moved into consulting and her professional expertise lies in the areas of executive coaching, change management, performance management, leadership development and executive remuneration with particular emphasis on the financial services sector. In 2000 Karen founded Potential Unlimited, a Change Management and Executive Coaching Consultancy. She lives in London.

April S J Rigby Company Secretary

April Rigby graduated from Leeds University in 1982 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1986 with Arthur Andersen & Co. She joined RPS Group in 1989 and was Finance Director from 1993 to October 2000. She has been Company Secretary since 1993. She lives in Oxfordshire.

John BennettNon-Executive Director

John is a Chartered Accountant with 30 years’ experience in the house building industry. For the last 13 years he was Finance Director of Westbury plc, until it was acquired earlier this year. He has wide experience of financial management, capital and debt raising, acquisitions and investor relations and he played a leading role in the strategic development of Westbury into a top ten volume house builder in the UK.

Related Link: http://www.rpsgroup.com/content.asp?fl=1&contentid=861&secid=aboutrps
author by Dumbopublication date Thu Mar 01, 2007 09:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What exactly is 'Raw Gas' and why is it so dangerous?

author by Williampublication date Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's gas staright from under the sea bed which hasn't been refined. It is under a huge amount of pressure, highly volitile, and mixed up with some scary heavy metals, acids, and whatever else is down there.

Normally this stuff is refined out at sea on a rig, where it is cleaned, has an odour added to it (for early detection of leaks) and has the pressure substantially reduced, before being sent to the onshore gas pipeline network.

author by Dpublication date Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have no connection with S2S or Shell, but I have extensive experience of oil and gas production and I must correct some of the statements made by William.

With regard to volatility, gas in its natural state includes heavier hydrocarbons which mean that it is less volatile than after it is processed.

Regarding heavy metals - the amounts are miniscule (it is a gas after all) and have no significat effect on the environment whether they are removed onshore or offshore or, as is normal, mainly left in the gas.

Finally, where the gas is processed offshore, odorants are never added at that stage. In fact, odorants are not normally added in gas transmission pipelines either, partly because the mercaptans which are used are only effective in enclosed spaces - they have little effect in the open air. The odorant is normally added close to the consumer, when the pressure is reduced to its delivery pressure.

I hope this helps to clear up some misconceptions.

author by Williampublication date Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Do you have any comments on pressure, risk of explosion, consequences of explosion?

author by Dpublication date Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pressure falls over the life of a field and, where gas is processed offshore, compressors are normally installed after a few years to boost the pressure before sending it ashore. Using current technology, boosting pressure in this way would not be possible with a subsea development such as Corrib.

In the case of Corrib, it is my understanding that the pressure in the onshore section of the pipeline is now to be limited to well below the original design pressure. The pipe used will therefore have a significant extra safety factor which will make leaks (which are extremely unlikely anyway) much less likely, and the extra thickness in the pipe wall will make it more unlikely that a leak becomes an explosion.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Thu Mar 01, 2007 14:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pressure falls over the life of a field and, where gas is processed offshore, compressors are normally installed after a few years to boost the pressure before sending it ashore. Using current technology, boosting pressure in this way would not be possible with a subsea development such as Corrib.

Sounds like self-contradictory gobbledegook there. If where gas is processed offshore, compressors are normally installed then because the vast and very, very cheap Corrib fields are "offshore" they have to be "subsea", right?

And it seems that the problem with Corrib is not low-pressure requiring compressors, but high-pressure requiring offshore processing to limit the danger to local residents. Maybe this is all a simple misunderstanding? ;)

The proposal to pipe high-pressure, untreated gas onshore into a populated area is anything but "normal" though, except in countries under military dictatorship (such as Nigeria).

author by Dpublication date Thu Mar 01, 2007 14:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am probably guilty of using a term which is common in the industry but not widely understood - a "subsea" development means that the offshore equipment is on the seabed - ie there is no floating or fixed platform.

The point I was trying to make is that, where compressors are installed offshore, the pipeline pressure will be kept higher than with a field like Corrib where it will continue to fall throughout its life. When combined with the fact that the onshore section of the pipeline will have a much larger than normal safety factor (as I pointed out earlier), it is difficult to imagine a safer gas pipeline.

author by JMpublication date Fri Mar 02, 2007 01:27author address Rossportauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Just to add another technical point to the debate. "Raw" gas has another property not fully considered above but clearly stated in the Advantica report: it is much more corrosive than processed gas. Add this to the uncertainty of gas composition throughout the well life, exotically high pressures, unstable onshore terrain, no stipulated code of practice, no defined monitoring system, and an as-yet-undefined solution to pressure reduction... sounds a bit too much like guesswork to me.

And because the've lied to us and about us for seven years running, they'll never have the consent of the receiving community.

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com/
author by confused localpublication date Fri Mar 02, 2007 09:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors


It seems JM is bullish when posting unchallenged, but as soon as he is questioned on the "facts" he is using he seems to lose his confidence.
I have researched this project extensively, and the facts I have found would concur with D and Dumbo.
If there is a issiue with safety in relation to this project, then the pipeline is the only aspect of the project with valid cause for concern.
And the solution to the pipeline seems quite simple .
Reroute it away from peoples houses! This is what will happen, even if shell has to pay landowners huge amounts of money to move/relocate a few hundred meters.
If the land owners wont deal with shell, then shell or the gov will use CPO orders to acquire the land.
We hear in the news that salmon fishermen are intent on defying the ban on drift-netting, and have stated that they will fish salmon this year even though it is illegal.
The have compared their situation to that of the rossport five, and say they are willing to go to jail to protect their future.
This kind of precedence is exactly what the government cant allow to be seen happening.
So in my opinion the Gov or shell cant do a u-turn on this issiue, as it would set a dangerous precedence!

author by Believerpublication date Fri Mar 02, 2007 18:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Shell sold leaking pipeline

Oil giant Shell has been ordered to pay more than $60m in fines and costs for selling a pipeline in Texas it knew to be faulty.
A Shell subsidiary, Texas-New Mexico Pipeline, was on Tuesday found guilty of fraud for failing to disclose information about the pipeline's environmental impact ahead of its sale to a subsidiary of energy firm Enron.

A Texas jury also found the Shell subsidiary guilty of gross negligence and wilful misconduct over the way it handled leakage from the pipeline, and for its failure to report it the state authorities.

The pipeline had sprung a leak as long ago as 1992, and further leakages are thought to have polluted water supplies in Texas eight years later.

The judge ordered Shell to pay a $50m fine plus $5m in legal fees and a further $6m in clean-up costs.

The leaking pipeline became the subject of a court case in 2001 when residents of Midland, Texas, demanded damages after their drinking water was contaminated.

By then, the section of the pipeline had been bought by Houston-based Eott Energy Partners, a former Enron subsidiary which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March this year.

Eott, which had bought the pipeline in 1999, responded to the $3m claim by settling out of court and taking legal action against Shell.

Eott argued that the damage occurred before it bought the pipeline, and said it had not been warned about any possible pollution problems.

Shell told BBC News Online that it is likely to appeal against the ruling.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3043924.stm

author by Confused idiotpublication date Fri Mar 02, 2007 18:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Shell ignored accident warning

Oil giant Shell has been accused of operating platforms in the North Sea at dangerously high risk levels.

Former senior manager Bill Campbell, who led a safety review, claimed the company ignored his warning in 1999 that an accident was bound to happen.

Four years later two men were killed by a gas leak on the Brent Bravo platform.

Shell dismissed the claims. It said: "The allegation regarding operating with high risk levels is untrue and we absolutely refute this."

The company added that it had responded to the review and put a detailed improvement plan in place.

Keith Moncrieff, 45, of Invergowrie near Dundee, and Sean McCue, 22, of Kennoway in Fife, died after being overcome by a massive release of hydrocarbon gas in September 2003.

Shell was later fined £900,000 after admitting health and safety breaches, including failing to carry out a risk assessment on the platform.

Speaking to BBC's Frontline Scotland programme, Mr Campbell said during the safety management review in 1999 he had been particularly shocked at what he discovered on Brent Bravo.

He said he found equipment was being operated in a dangerous condition, vital maintenance was being ignored and that lies were being told to cover it up.

It was also alleged that some emergency shutdown valves on Brent Bravo were not closing and platform managers reported 96% compliance with safety critical maintenance while the actual levels of compliance were 14%.

Mr Campbell said: "If you operate offshore installations at dangerously high levels of risk, the implication of that is that a major accident event will happen.

"It is a surprise to me that it took as long as 2003 before that happened."

Colin MacFarlane, professor of subsea engineering at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, said the Brent Bravo accident could have been a large-scale disaster because of the safety flaws identified by Mr Campbell.

"Bill Campbell identified things and made it plain to the management and Shell at that time that these things were wrong and dangerous," he said.

"If Shell, in 1999, had listened to what he said and taken action then, then the two guys wouldn't have died."

In a statement, Shell said it launched an independent internal investigation last year following concerns expressed by Mr Campbell.

It said: "This recent investigation, which we took very seriously, showed that there had been a vigorous and significant management response to the safety review, including a detailed improvement plan with action being taken, and progress reviewed by senior management."

Related Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/5077886.stm

author by confused localpublication date Fri Mar 02, 2007 23:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Mr Campbell said: "If you operate offshore installations at dangerously high levels of risk, the implication of that is that a major accident event will happen".
Shell will be happy to see that posted .
they always claimed that onshore was safer for the workers!
I am not trying to prove shell are right/good, I just give my opinion, and I still believe that this refinery will be built at bellinaboy.
I also think that S2S and the scrutiny they have placed on this project is a positive thing, they have ensured that no corners are cut, and that the highest standards are met with this project.
My concern is that, now is the time for S2S to move to a new phase, where they ensure that the project is done to the highest standard, and that the locals benefit from the project.

author by JMpublication date Fri Mar 02, 2007 23:48author address Rossportauthor phone Report this post to the editors

No re-routing of the pipeline will meet the requirements of health and safety for the local community. There would still be a risk from the pipeline because it would have to cross public roads to get to Bellanaboy, whichever way they try to bend it.

The refinery would still be a source of pollution in an area that is not industrialised, changing the environment forever for short-term, short-sighted profits.

Compulsory purchase on this project would be entirely unconstitutional, as it would be (and has already been) in violation of basic property rights.

Consitutional property rights can only be circumvented if it is in the "exigencies of the common good", which this project is not. Good for the current owners of the gas Shell/Statoil/Marathon, but bad for every citizen of this state, whose resources have been acquired by big oil under a deal struck by a convicted criminal (Ray Burke - guilty of political corruption).

As prospective neighbours, Shell and their partners come to the area with over a century of persistent abuses of human beings and the environment. They have direct responsibility for the deaths of countless people by bullets, bombs, poisons and wars, and the ongoing extinction of untold species...

Re-routing the pipe is not the answer.

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com/
author by Wpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 00:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You read a news piece with things like this in it:

"It was also alleged that some emergency shutdown valves on Brent Bravo were not closing and platform managers reported 96% compliance with safety critical maintenance while the actual levels of compliance were 14%."

and you think that Shell to Sea should allow the refinery to be built in their neighbourhood? It's pointless arguing with you. The company's appalling safety record and willingness to get people killed for profits makes you think they will make good neighbours. You certainly are confused.

author by confused localpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 10:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It seems if I, or anyone else questions the "facts" used to justify the campaign to get Shell to sea, we are either stupid/naive or employed by Shell!
I for one, am just attempting to highlight the "proven facts" that will stand up to scrutiny.
I can only assume that when W posted (It was also alleged that some emergency shutdown valves on Brent Bravo were not closing and platform managers reported 96% compliance with safety critical maintenance while the actual levels of compliance were 14%.) that he noticed the word "alleged ".
I don't know if an enquiry ever proved that claim? if it did then that is relevant, if not then it is very easy to alleged anything you want, it doesn't have to be true!

And JM states "No re-routing of the pipeline will meet the requirements of health and safety for the local community. There would still be a risk from the pipeline because it would have to cross public roads to get to Bellanaboy, whichever way they try to bend it."
probably correct (I cant say for sure), but is that unprecedented?
JM also states "The refinery would still be a source of pollution in an area that is not industrialised, changing the environment forever for short-term, short-sighted profits."
Again that is true, but you have to put it in context, every project of this type will have emissions of pollutants into the air, and in this case the sea.
The effects of these emissions is what needs to be determined, The claims made by opponents of the project, that the effects will be catastrophic for the local people/environment and fishing community, that claim is what I have problems with.
Also if the refinery was built at sea (shallow water platform which S2S are seeking) would the emissions not be worse, because of the limited space for treating the pollutants before discharge.
I can not find any proof that the emissions this project will/might cause any serious health and safety problems.
If there is proof that the emissions from the refinery could/will be catastrophic for the local people/environment and fishing community, then produce it!
All the experts who are qualified to make a assessment on the effects say there will be negligible impact, (are they all lying?)
If "Compulsory purchase on this project would be entirely unconstitutional" then challenge them in the courts! (it might be more productive that blocking lorries and invading construction sites).
JM also claims ""exigencies of the common good", which this project is not."" could you prove that to a judge/jury , or is that just your personal opinion?
I don't know what kind of neighbours shell will be, but if they are going to be bad neighbours on land imagine what they will be like just off our coast.
To finish "if shell were to go offshore and build a shallow water platform" would it be safe for the people/environment and fishing community, you would still have emissions, and a high pressure pipeline passing through rossport.

author by Fearbolg - S2Spublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Greetings!

I'm a new contributor to this comment line. I'm an Erris native and s2s supporter, and I'd like to say straight away that, however inspired or imbecilic I consider a comment to be (from either side), I'll try to respond to it rationally and respectfully.

To set the ball rolling I would like to ask the following questions of those who oppose the Shell to Sea campaign:

Are you happy with the situation which currently obtains, whereby the natural resources of this country have been given away to Multinational interests by a minister who was subsequently convicted and jailed? It's difficult to put a figure on how much our resources are worth, but Minister Dempsey himself has recently put the figure at E900 billion. That's 900,000,000,000 Euros (and Michael McDowell reckons one billion is too much to spend to try to get at the truth).

The gas in the Corrib field alone, which until recently was described by Shell as 'marginal' is worth about E50 billion.

The Ray Burke deal has been supported and perpetuated by both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael over the past 20 years.
Why?

Even after the sacrafice of the Rossport Five in 2005, Minister Dempsey has handed out further Frontier Licences to the big Multinationals under the same terms (i.e nothing for the exchequer of this country), on three occasions. Why?

Let's leave aside the usual ideological bickering and points-scoring that takes place on this forum; I would love to read the comments of someone who can justify the state of affairs I've outlined above.

Can the apologists and rationalisers please form an orderly queue right here......

author by confused localpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't think you will find anybody here happy with the deal the Irish people are getting from this find!
I certainly would not class myself an apologists or rationaliser for shell.
the debates I contribute to relate to pollution and health and safety, the deal shell/enterprise got is not my argument.
If shell were to go to sea, how would that change the deal the irish people/gov got?

author by Dpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The gas in the Corrib field alone, which until recently was described by Shell as 'marginal' is worth about E50 billion."

From industry sources, the current value of the gas in the Corrib field is about €4-5 billion and costs are likely to account for about half of that amount.

author by kav - irsh citizenpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 13:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Who will stop them?
Shell has a disgraceful record world wide for pollution and dishonest practices. On making the highly dubious deal with this and other Oil companies, the Irish government has placed us all in a very weak and dangerous position. None of the toothless state agencies or indeed government will be able to stop the pollution of the Erris region.

Why? =Because the economy needs the gas and we no longer own it.
If we want the gas we will have to pay for it under their terms and conditions. If the government challenges them they can sell the gas to the highest bidder.

Therefore Shell will have total control of the practices they employ.
For the sake of the economy and welfare of the Irish people we must not compound this disgraceful situation by allowing Shell to process the gas inland they must be made to do it at sea in an environmentally safe manner.

author by Wpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 14:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear confused friend,

You draw attention to the word "alleged" above.

It was "alleged" by a senior manager from Shell, which makes it rather compelling don't you think?

Coupled with the facts that Shell were forced to pay a huge fine and that two workers died on the rig (AFTER the flaws in the system had been identified) you might start wondering if the company might be prepared to put its profits before the safety of its workers.

But no, you think you've found a reason to doubt the good intentions of your neighbours who daily put themselves in the wringer to try and stop the combined forces of the state and a huge multi national from installing this scheme on the place where you live, so you niggle away, making specious points (all the while admitting that you know the project is seriously flawed), all from the comfort of anonymity and a computer keyboard.

author by confused localpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 15:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"It was "alleged" by a senior manager from Shell, which makes it rather compelling don't you think?"
above is exactly why I am confused, you say because it was a senior manager from shell who made the allegation, it must be true, yet you don't trust anything anybody from Shell says.

author by Wpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 16:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear friend,

I give up. Most people are worth arguing with, having some clear sense of what they are arguing and why, even if their conclusions are mistaken. Then again, in the sense that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, most people, however wrong headed, have something to bring to a debate.

Unfortunatley, I don't think you do.

I think my time would be better spent on something else than engaging with you.

author by confused localpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 19:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I simply pointed out a contradiction, in your logic, I didn't mean to be witty/sarcastic.
My first post on indymedia (some time ago) asked S2S supporters a very simple question, "why/how is this project going to cause the doomsday scenario predicted by them.
I have asked that question of many S2S supporters online and in person, I still have not seen/heard the reason why it will be an environmental disaster.
Every expert in the field predicts the emissions from the refinery will not cause such a disaster, if S2S have data to prove/suggest otherwise then lets see it, then all of erris will be at the gate of the bellinaboy site demanding this project is scrapped.
My logic on this whole issiue is that if the emissions from the refinery are so dangerous on land then they are equally as dangerous from a shallow water platform, as with the discharges to sea, S2S are using kinsale as an example of how this project should be done, in kinsale they use gravity filtration (because of space constraints) to remove heavy metals from the produced waters, then they dump the waste-water over the side of the rig.
Is that what S2S wants, poorly treated produced water being discharged into the coastal waters off erris?
If S2S supporters were to produce the data/experts that shows the emissions are indeed harmful to our seas and local population, then I would have to admit to have been naive/gullible or ignorant, and would give my full support to have this refinery located so far offshore as to be beyond range to pollute the coast, and have the waste waters reinserted back into the well.

author by Fearbolg - s2spublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 19:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hello D,

You say Corrib is worth 4-5 Billion, I say 50 Billion. Big discrepancy there, so I'll show you what my basis for calculation is. Then you can quote me your 'industry sources' which have it at the lower figure.

I honestly don't believe, if the value of Corrib was in the 4-5 Billion region, that Shell and its partners would push so hard to bring it ashore, in the light of all the negative publicity this project has received, particularly in Norway. However, if the value is as you suggest, then that lends a lot of weight to my own personal fear that the Shell terminal is only the thin end of a very thick wedge which will ultimately see many of the oil giants with a foothold in Erris.(You are no doubt aware that Shell were given 450 acres of Coillte land by minister Frank Fahey. The current construction footprint is about 30 acres. I doubt if they're going to set a few spuds on the other 420).

Anyway here are the calcs:

As you know, gas is measured in T.C.F's (Trillion Cubic Feet). A means of evaluating the value of gas which is widely accepted in the industry is to equate 1 T.C.F of gas to 150 million barrels of oil. Allowing a conservative figure of $60 a barrel, (bearing in mind it's recently been up above 75), this gives a figure of $9 Billion per T.C.F

Shell will suggest that there is only 1 T.C.F in Corrib, giving it a value of $9 Billion. But a survey of Corrib carried out in 1999 by leading analysts Wood McKenzie put the figure at close to 7 T.C.F. Seven times nine Billion is $63 Billion. When we convert that to Euro we arrive at a figure very close to E50 Billion.

As I said previously, Minister Dempsey calculates the value of all of our natural resources to be around E900 Billion, all of which he is in the process of giving away. And I'm still waiting for someone to justify this madness.

author by confused localpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 20:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As I have stated before you will find it very difficult to find someone to justify this madness ( It wasn't the only act of madness fahey displayed while minister).
But let the general election punish the politicians/political parties responsible for this madness.
although you will find it difficult to find a party who hasn't had a contribution to this deal, FF/PD/FG/LAB and perhaps others.
But S2S main aim is to have the refinery sited offshore, the theft of the gas is just something that became a issiue later (S2S has admitted this).
S2S was set-up because of health and environmental grounds.
Is it possible for the Irish state to tear up its contract with shell and negotiate a new deal, or would it cost the Irish taxpayer billions for breach of contract?
None of the political parties are saying they intend to renegotiate this deal if they are elected to government, the greens say they will demand an assessment to find if this is BAT for the production of the gas, (hardly a statement of intent to have it renegotiated).

author by Fearbolg - s2spublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 21:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hello confused.

I have to say that I find it harrowing in the extreme to sit here and witness your state of perpetual confusion. I have spent sleepless nights worrying about you and seeking ways to alleviate your sad condition.

I picture you as a tragic, Edwardian figure, hunched for endless hours over your P.C. A bowl of thin gruel, long forgotten, sits nearby; a threadbare blanket hangs over narrow, wasted shoulders; an old set of pince-nez fall to the floor, where you grope for them pathetically. The only sound is the occasional hacking, rather worrying cough which tears from your spent body.

And yet, once again, your thin shaking hands, enclosed in fingerless mittens, reach for the keyboard as you continue your endless quest for solace and enlightenment.

But tonight, friend, that quest is over. If you'll only come with me and look to the light, I can take you to a place where truth, deep research and hard facts prevail. Never again need you feel lost or confused. Listen to me and you'll find hope.

The reason why I chose to focus on the giveaway this morning is because the two issues are now totally conjoined: the regional one of health and safety and the national one of what appears to be massive, systematic government corruption and facilitation of every whim of the multinationals.

You, like myself are a local. I would ask you if you are happy with our locality being used for what is, basically, an engineering experiment. This was brought home to me very clearly on Tuesday night at the R.P.S presentation. (R.P.S being the engineering firm charged with finding a route for the pipeline, an onerous task to say the least). During a conversation with one of their engineers I was deeply shocked to hear him use the term 'experimental technology'. He used this phrase while discussing some of the major, possibly insurmountable, problems they expect to encounter as they attempt to fulfil their remit. Bear in mind that this pipeline is an afterthought; it has never been thought through because the die was cast the day Frank Fahey gave Bellinaboy to Shell. Now there is no route for the pipeline, and this time it can't be forced through by Ministerial Order.

The answer is becoming increasingly obvious: clean the gas at sea and bring it in at transmission pressure, 75bar approx.

We're both residents of Erris. I don't want to be treated as a guinea pig. Do you?

author by confused localpublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 21:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thank you for reminding me about the "bowl of thin gruel". its also cold now.
I think the difference between me and you, is that I am a realist, And you are an optimist!

author by fearbolg - s2spublication date Sat Mar 03, 2007 22:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually, now I come to think about it, a bowl of thin gruel is a very effective metaphor for what we as a country, and particularly in Erris, are receiving from this rotten deal. We thought the days of the workhouses were long gone, but there's a mindset in Leinster House that believes that we in Erris should accept insult as well as injury and be glad of it.

They don't know what they're dealing with.

author by enlightened localpublication date Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wish to thank all of the people who have helped enlighten me, and alleviate my confusion.
I now realise that most S2S supporters are aware, that the emissions from this refinery are not a cause for major concern.
The fact that they use the emissions as a tool, to muster support for their campaign from people without the means/opportunity to inform themselves on the real risks from the emissions is what I had/have a problem with.
All the other points highlighted, such as the high-pressure pipeline, the giveaway of the gas, visual impact of the refinery on an unspoilt area, and the bully-boy tactics of EEI/shell when this saga began, Are all valid,logical reasons for opposing this project in its present form, I would be delighted if shell were to build this refinery on the coast or shallow (or deep) water platform, and all of the strife that has occurred in our area could be put behind us, and we could get on with living as friends and neighbours.
The fact that whether through design or ignorance, S2S supporters have made unsubstantiated claims about the effects of the emissions from the refinery, has (in my humble opinion) been counterproductive to their campaign.
If this battle was fought with hard facts and logical argument, getting this refinery moved would "probably" have been achievable.
The unsubstantiated fears/predictions such as...... emissions to air will cause leukaemia/cancer/birth-defects/ heavy metal contamination/pollution of land/sea and drinking water supply, and that emissions to sea will cause the destruction of the fish and fishing community and the bathing waters of Erris and Mayo.
All of which are easily discredited.
S2S current predicament is of their own making(the boy who cried wolf), the easily discredited claims they have made means, that "everything" they now claim is treated with scepticism.

author by Dpublication date Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fearbolg, the gas volume at Corrib is less than 1 tcf (this is from recent Wood McKenzie reports which are unfortunately only available by subscription); the value of $9 billion per tcf you quote is high in today's market, but even if we accept it, that is €6.5 billion and so my figure of €4-5 billion remains valid.

Anything beyond that (includung the 1999 Wood McKenzie report, which did not consider just Corrib but the total potential in the region) is pure speculation. If it exists it will take tens or hundreds of € millions to find it and hundreds more to bring it to production. The only thing we know right now is that there are not yet any other commercial oil or gas discoveries close to Corrib.

I have no idea why 450 acres was sold for the terminal site, but however successful future exploration in the area might be, it is inconveivable that a gas terminal that large would be needed. 2 or 3 more fields similar to Corrib could probably be accomodated without any increase to the size of the terminal.

author by cpublication date Sun Mar 04, 2007 20:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Perhaps the civil servants who overseen the sale of the land knew that nobody would buy the remaining land after shell had built a refinery on 30 acres of it, so they insisted shell buy the lot!
does anybody know how much shell paid for it?

author by Peter Sweetmanpublication date Sat Mar 10, 2007 20:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

€2.725,056.90

author by confused localpublication date Sat Mar 10, 2007 21:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

good price for bog, it can be bought locally ( in erris)for €1000 an acre

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