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Key Milestones of the Corrib gas project
The Corrib gas project is one of the most exciting and sophisticated engineering projects ever undertaken in Ireland. Find out about the history of the project.
- In 1993 an exploration licence was granted to Enterprise Oil for an area off the northwest coast of Ireland. In 1996 the Corrib natural gas field was discovered.
- First appraisal well drilled. The find was declared commercially viable and the planning and statutory approval processes commenced.
- A Petroleum Lease was granted under the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act, 1960 by the (then) Minister for Marine and Natural Resources. This lease required the submission of a Plan of Development for the Corrib gas field by Enterprise Energy Ireland Ltd (a subsidiary of Enterprise Oil).
- The Plan for Development for the Corrib gas field was approved on foot of an application submitted to the DMNR in November 2001. The submission was accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). This overarching consent was granted by the Minister for Marine and Natural Resources (now DCENR).
- A Continental Shelf Act authorisation for the Corrib development was granted.
- Consent to construct the Corrib pipeline and umbilical between the field and the terminal was granted under Section 40 of the Gas Act.
- A Foreshore Licence for the pipeline, umbilical and outfall pipe was granted to Enterprise Ireland Limited.
- The Shell group acquired Enterprise Oil which included Enterprise Ireland Limited and the Corrib field.
- An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for Bellanaboy terminal.
A planning application for the gas terminal had been made to Mayo County Council in April 2001, and subsequently appealed, by local residents, to An Bord Pleanála (ABP - the Irish planning appeals board).
ABP refused planning permission on the basis of proposals to store large quantities of peat on the site..However, in December 2003, a revised planning application was made for the same site, together with a peat deposition site owned and operated by Bord na Móna at Srahmore, some 11 km away.
This was subject to an appeal to An Bord Pleanála who granted permission in October 2004.
- Construction commences on the terminal site.
Construction activities associated with the onshore pipeline commenced in Rossport early 2005 and resulted in some local opposition. Following the granting of a court injunction five residents from Kilcommon parish were held in contempt of court and were committed to jail in late June.
- SEPIL announced its decision to temporarily suspend work on the pipeline to allow for a period of public discussion and dialogue. In response to safety concerns expressed by members of the local community, the Minister appointed international consultants, Advantica, to conduct an independent safety review of the onshore pipeline.
- The Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources announces a mediation process and appointed Mr Peter Cassels as mediator.
- Shell applied to the High Court to lift the injunction. On Sept 30 the five men were released, having spent 94 days in Cloverhill prison.
- The final report of the Advantica Independent Safety Review was published. SEPIL accepted all of the Advantica recommendations and agreed to limit pressure in the onshore section of the pipeline to 144bar or below.
- Independent Mediator Mr Peter Cassells' report is published.
SEPIL welcomed the mediator's report which found that a clear majority of people in Rossport, the wider Erris area and Co. Mayo are in favour of the project.
- Work resumes at the terminal site in Bellanaboy Bridge.
SEPIL staff and approximately 70 local contractors return to work at Bellanaboy Terminal. Work at the terminal site had been suspended since August 2005.
- Having committed to modify the route of the onshore section of pipeline, SEPIL appointed engineering consultants, RPS, to modify the onshore pipeline design and identify a modified route.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) Licence for the gas terminal. An IPPC licence controls emissions to air, water and land. In granting the licence, the EPA stated that emissions from the gas terminal "will not adversely affect human health or the environment and will meet all relevant national and EU standards, when operated in accordance with the conditions of the proposed licence".
Sedco 711 drilling rig
- The modified onshore pipeline route was identified in April 2008 following a 14-month route selection process. The new route sought to balance the community, environmental and technical criteria,a drepresented a doubling of the distance from occupied housing and the lowering of the pipeline's design pressure to less than half of the original design pressure.
- Sedco 711 departs the Corrib field having completed work on the Corrib wells, having completed work on four production wells. Work on the wells was carried out during the 2006, 2007 and 2008 drilling seasons.
- SEPIL submitted development applications for new onshore pipeline route to relevant statutory bodies.
- The pipelay vessel Solitaire completes the laying of the 83km offshore pipeline between Glengad landfall and the Corrib Field.
- Following a six weeks oral hearing into the modified onshore pipeline route through Rossport, An Bord Pleanála invited SEPIL to make alterations to the route and indicated that a route through Sruwaddacon Bay should be considered.
- SEPIL applied to the EPA for a review of the 2007 IPPC licence. The review mainly related to the proposed change of discharge point for treated produced water from a permitted outfall point just outside Broadhaven Bay, to the subsea manifold located on the seabed in the Corrib Gas Field in some 350m water depth. This change followed discussions with local fishermen’s organizations, during which SEPIL made a goodwill gesture by offering to use an alternative location of discharge for treated produced water, subject to statutory approval.
- SEPIL submitted a revised route with an associated EIS for the onshore pipeline route to relevant statutory bodies. This route included the construction of a 4.9km tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay.
- An Bord Pleanála granted approval for the onshore pipeline stating that the Corrib Gas Project “would help safeguard the energy security of the State, would benefit the Western Region of Ireland, would not seriously injure the amenities of the area . . . would not be prejudicial to public health or to public safety [and] would not be likely to have significant effects on the environment.”
- DCENR granted consent to construct the modified pipeline and umbilical under S40 of the Gas Act and approved the modified Plan of Development.
- The contract for the Sruwaddacon Bay tunnel is signed between SEPIL and the joint venture BAM Civil and Wayss and Freytag.
- The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government granted a Foreshore Licence for the Corrib modified pipeline.
Work commenced on the construction of the Aughoose tunnelling compound
- Construction work commences at the Land Valve Installation (LVI) in Glengad.
- The tunnel reception pit works start in Glengad.
- Tunnelling of the Corrib onshore pipeline tunnel commences.
- First production weld on onshore pipeline.
- EPA issues a Final Determination of SEPIL’s 2010 application for an IPPC licence reivew, confirming its approval of moving the discharge point for treated produced water to the Corrib subsea manifold.
- Umbilical pull-in to Glengad is complete and umbilical laid to the Corrib Field.
- Ireland’s first Ocean Bottom Cable seismic survey of Corrib reservoir is completed.
- Corrib onshore pipeline successfully laid under environmentally sensitive Leenamore Stream.
- Landfall Installation Valve (LVI) is hydro-tested.
- A German employee of Herrenknecht AG is fatally injured while working inside the Corrib tunnel.
- The 2013 Revised IPPC Licence issued by the Environmental Protection Agency is quashed in the Commercial Court.
- A “golden” weld which connects 3km section of the onshore pipeline to the Bellanaboy Bridge Gas Terminal takes place.
- Tunnelling activities reach 2.5Km, the midway point under Sruwaddacon Bay.
- Landfall Installation Valve (LVI) engineering and construction works are completed.
- SEPIL submits an application to the Environmental Protection Agency for a review of the Industrial Emissions Licence (formerly the Integrated Pollution Prevention & Control Licence).
- Tunnelling activities reach the 3.5Km mark under Sruwaddacon Bay.