Natural gas consists principally of methane and is often found together with water or other hydrocarbon gas and liquids. The gas we use in our homes for cooking and heating is processed, or dried by removing all liquids and most other hydrocarbon gas.
The main purpose of the terminal is to process and dry the gas by removing liquids so that it is suitable to flow into the Bord Gáis Eireann (BGE) pipeline network. The control room within the terminal controls the flow of gas from the offshore wells through to the terminal process systems and into the BGE network.
Located 9 kilometres inland near Bellanaboy Bridge, Co. Mayo, the terminal is being constructed in a wooded area so as to cause minimum visual impact to the surrounding area. It has been designed to process up to 10 million standard cubic metres of sales gas per day and will be operated 24 hours a day.
Once the liquids have been removed from the gas, it will be ready to be re-compressed to a suitable pressure so that it can enter the BGE grid.
Corrib gas, like all other types of natural gas, has no smell. Before leaving the gas terminal, the gas will be “odourised” by adding a special chemical.
Operating in the local environment
In November 2007, the terminal was granted an Integrated Pollution Prevention Control (IPPC) Licence to operate by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In granting the licence the EPA confirmed that emissions from the 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”.
The Corrib Gas Partners are committed to ensuring that emissions from the terminal will be monitored and analysed in order to demonstrate that emissions are within stringent limits set by the EPA under the terms of the IPPC Licence.
The small amount of water produced from the Corrib reservoir and rainwater that has fallen in areas of the terminal site where contamination could occur, are treated to ensure it meets Environmental Protection Agency standards before being discharged offshore.
The methanol (“anti-freeze” injected to prevent ice formation in the pipeline) will be recovered from the gas and regenerated prior to being re-injected back out to the offshore wells, flowlines and manifold.
The Bellanaboy Bridge gas terminal is self sufficient in terms of energy and power generation. The main source of emissions from the site will be from the exhausts of engines that will provide compressor power, energy, heat and light for the terminal. These engines are natural gas fuelled using some of the gas produced from offshore. Emissions from the plant will be relatively small and only a fraction of what the nearby Bellacorrick power station produced when in operation.
As well as atmospheric and water emissions, light and noise generated from the terminal are strictly controlled to ensure the absolute minimum impact on the local environment and its inhabitants.
See also our printable guide Bellanaboy Gas Terminal - Processing the Gas