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The gas in the Corrib field is composed mainly of methane, which has significant environmental benefits when compared to some other fossil fuels.
The demand for gas in Ireland is growing, due principally to its increasing use for electricity power generation. Demand for gas powered electricity generation is expected to continue to grow as other less environmentally friendly fossil fuels are phased out.
Development of Corrib Natural Gas
As a result of the screening studies, it was concluded that the preferred development scenario for the Corrib field was a subsea system tied back to a processing terminal onshore. This method of development represents the best solution in terms of safety and the environment and is in line with the most up-to-date industry practice.
Minimising the environmental impacts of the project is an important objective for the Corrib gas field development. The use of best available technology and the integration of environmental protection practices into the design, construction and operation of all aspects of the project helped to meet this objective.
To ensure that environmental considerations are adequately covered, Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) were prepared for the construction phases of the development. The implementation of the plans ensured that preventative and management measures identified in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were implemented throughout the construction phase. This ensured that the environmental impacts associated with the construction were avoided, minimized and mitigated. Prior to commencement of construction, construction method statements were prepared and agreed with the appropriate consent authorities.
The Corrib Gas Terminal
The Bellanaboy Bridge Gas Terminal will be operated in accordance with an environmental management system.
Emissions from the terminal will be monitored to demonstrate that emissions are within stringent limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the conditions of the Industrial Emissions License.
The EPA has confirmed that emissions from the Corrib 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".
As part of the planning application for the Bellanaboy Bridge Gas Terminal, an Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out on the basis of the Environmental Impact Statement, which was submitted to the planning authority as part of the overall planning process.
The Corrib Gas Pipeline
A key criterion in the identification of the modified route for the onshore pipeline was the environmental impact of its location. The construction methods used for the onshore gas pipeline were selected accordingly to minimise and mitigate the potential for impact of the proposed route on the receiving environment.
Corrib Biodiversity Plan 2014 – 2019
The ‘Corrib Development Biodiversity Action Plan 2014 – 2019’, was published by Shell in June 2014.
The plan describes the extensive biodiversity, conservation and rehabilitation measures that have been implemented by Shell and its contractors since 2001 to protect and enhance the local environment in Co Mayo. Measures outlining how Shell will continue to respect the environment as Corrib becomes an operating asset are also contained in the document.
Much of Co. Mayo is designated for nature conservation under Irish and European legislation and rigorous environmental monitoring has been undertaken throughout the construction of the project.
The objectives of the Biodiversity Action Plan include:
- To protect habitats and species by means of appropriate mitigation measures during construction and operation
- To monitor habitats and species before, during and following construction
- To reinstate habitats affected by the construction of the project
- During reinstatement, to enhance local biodiversity on lands in the stewardship of Shell and elsewhere where feasible
- To maintain species numbers and diversity within, and in the vicinity of, the footprint of the development
- To put mechanisms in place to control invasive species in reinstated habitats
- To achieve sustainability in day-to-day project activities
- To provide species records and habitat quadrat data to the national biodiversity data base