In the submission to ABP, lodged on Monday May 31, SEPIL has proposed the construction of a tunnel to carry the pipeline under Sruwaddacon Bay and has lodged a revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to reflect the changes to its 2009 application.

By building the pipeline under Sruwaddacon Bay, the nearest house will now be 234 metres away from the pipeline, more than three times the distance of the original 2002 route. Shell has also proposed to further reduce the operating pressure in the onshore pipeline.

Speaking on Monday last, Terry Nolan, SEPIL Managing Director, said: “An Bord Pleanála asked us to alter the pipeline route and to bring it through Sruwaddacon Bay. We believe a tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay will have the least environmental impact on the bay, which is a Special Area of Conservation. The normal operating pressure in the onshore pipeline will now be 85 bar – which is similar to the pressure in all Bord Gáis transmission lines throughout the country.”

“Like our previous proposals, this pipeline route meets or exceeds all relevant international and Irish pipeline codes and standards. Our application to ABP demonstrates in a clear and transparent way that the Corrib pipeline is safe and does not pose an unacceptable risk to the public.

“The Corrib Gas Partner’s are fully committed to completing this strategically important infrastructural project as quickly as possible – to the benefit of everyone both locally and nationally,” Mr. Nolan concluded.

A number of other consents and permits must also be obtained for the construction of the pipeline. An application has been made to ABP for new Compulsory Acquisition Orders (CAOs), while a new application under Section 40 of the Gas Act and an updated Development Plan have been submitted to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

Revised Route Map

What’s different compared to the 2009 application:

  • Re-routing the pipeline through Sruwaddacon Bay and building a tunnel
  • The closest house to the pipeline is 234m – previously it was 140m
  • The normal operating pressure in the onshore pipeline has been reduced from 100bar to 85bar – similar to all BGE transmission lines
  • There will be no construction in Rossport, therefore no heavy traffic and residential amenities in Rossport will not be impacted.
  • The planned tunnel will be built in one direction to concentrate traffic on the better quality roads in the Aughoose area, thus reducing construction activities in Glengad.

What happens next?

It is expected that following the submission of this additional information and the new CAO and Section 40 applications, a period of statutory consultation will follow. The public will have the opportunity to make written submissions and observations. When this period of consultation ends, ABP may hold a new oral hearing to examine the details of the revised EIS.