Corrib gas plan to cost €3.6bn

The costs of the Corrib gas project are set to top €3.6bn in 2015 when gas is finally expected to flow from the field.

Corrib gas plan to cost €3.6bn

The Corrib partners have spent an additional €340m on various aspects of the project this year and next year anticipate that a further €250m will be spent.

This follows an outlay of €330m on the project in 2013, bringing the total projected spend over the three-year period to €920m.

This will result in the project’s costs for the entire project topping €3.6bn — more than four times the original estimate of €800m.

Gas was expected to flow from the field in 2003, resulting in the project being 12 years behind the original schedule.

However, a spokesman for Shell Ireland said yesterday the development made good progress this year.

This included the completion of a subterranean tunnel and the spokesman said that the “piping and umbilical installation inside the Corrib tunnel is complete. After the pipeline has been hydrotested, the tunnel itself will be filled with grout.

“Offshore, our 2014 works campaign was successfully completed — with all wells now tested and ready to commence production next year.”

Last year, an 83km-long umbilical was laid from the wells to landfall at Glengad.

The spokesman said: “We expect approximately 800 staff to be employed at first gas. Once all construction is finalised and re-instatement is complete, Corrib will sustain 175 high-quality long term jobs for the next 15 to 20 years.”

The spokesman was commenting on new accounts just filed by Shell E&P Ireland Ltd (SEPI) for the 12 months to the end of December last which show that the firm recorded a pre-tax loss of €28.5m and this followed a pre-tax loss of €23.7m.

A tax credit of €6.4m helped reduce the loss to €22m and last year’s tax credit brings to €120m SEPI has received in tax credits since the project’s inception.

The Corrib development is Ireland’s largest ever energy investment and more than 6,000 people will have worked on bringing Corrib gas to market with the project maintaining 1,250 full-time jobs in Mayo, Donegal and Dublin since 2004. Staff costs last year increased by 17% from €18.38m to €21.59m.

Emoluments for the firm’s three directors, including MD, Michael Crothers, last year increased sharply from €1.4m to €2.17m.

SEPI’s shareholder funds last year topped €1.4bn after the firm received a further cash injection of €180m during the year.

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