€60m to finish Corrib project

SHELL IRELAND has received a further cash injection of €60 million from its parent company to complete the Corrib gas field project.

This brings to €190m the sum Shell & has received in additional cash in recent months as it prepares to complete the final phase of the project that includes the construction of a five kilometre subterranean tunnel to bring gas ashore from the Corrib gas field.

Documents filed with the Companies Office show that the fresh cash injection has brought the firm’s share capital to €614m.

The field has one trillion cubic feet of gas and the final spend on developing the field is expected to top €2.5 billion — more than three times the original estimate of €800m.

A Shell spokeswoman said the costs of the tunnel phase “will represent capital investment of several hundred million euro”.

Shell has now secured all the necessary permissions and licences to proceed with the construction of the tunnel.

This follows An Bord Pleanála, the Department of the Environment and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources providing the necessary consents for the tunnel project to proceed.

The spokeswoman said “the €60m is to support the company’s ongoing activities on the Corrib project”.

She said: “Now that all the necessary consents and permits are in place Shell E&P Ireland Limited plans to commence construction in the coming months, once all the relevant pre-commencement conditions associated with the three consents have been completed.”

The numbers to be employed in the final phase have not been confirmed, but it is expected that several hundred jobs will be created during the construction.

An Taisce and two local residents has instituted legal action against An Bord Pleanála’s decision to give the on-shore pipeline the go-ahead in the Commercial Court.

The case has been adjourned to October and doesn’t impact on Shell Ireland’s ability to proceed with the work as no court injunction has been sought or granted.

The Shell spokeswoman said “it is anticipated that first gas will flow in 2013 at the earliest”.

Construction work on the tunnel will take about 22 months to complete.

The proposal to bring the gas ashore only emerged after An Bord Pleanála ruled out half of a previous pipeline proposal on safety grounds in 2009.

Last year, it emerged that two of Shell’s partners in the project, Marathon Oil and Statoil, wrote off €399m arising from delays with the project and falling gas prices. Canadian company Vermilion Energy bought Marathon’s 18.5% share in the field in 2009.

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