Corrib gas expected to flow by mid-2015

A 40-metre gas flare from the Ocean Guardian drilling rig lights up the Atlantic skyline during a well production test at the Corrib field. Picture: Shell E&P Ireland Limited

The coming on stream of the long delayed €3.4 billion Corrib gas project has moved a step closer with tests confirming that all five Corrib wells are now ready to flow.

This follows Shell E&P Ireland Ltd flaring gas for a 24-hour period at the Ocean Guardian drilling rig over the now completed P6 well 80km off Co Mayo.

The successful gas flare, confirming the production capacity of the P6 well, “means that all five Corrib wells are ready to flow,” according to a Shell Ireland spokesperson.

The successful operation coincides with the firm lodging documents with the Companies Office confirming that it has provided a fresh cash injection of €100m to help complete the project.

According to the Shell Ireland spokesperson: “The three Corrib Gas Partners expect to invest circa €300m in the project during 2014. The €100m increase in share capital by Shell E&P Ireland Limited is to support Shell E&P Ireland Ltd’s ongoing activities in Ireland.”

Just under 1,000 people are employed. “Good progress continues to be made on the final elements of the Corrib gas project,” said a spokesperson.

“Offshore, the Ocean Guardian drilling rig — which has been at the Corrib field location since early May — has successfully completed its work on the P6 well. In the coming weeks, a number of other vessels will be working at the Corrib field, installing flowlines and other sub-sea infrastructure in preparation for first gas,” they added.

“On land, a major project milestone was achieved with breakthrough in the Corrib tunnel which occurred on May 19, 2014. With the completion of tunnel construction, the coming months will see the 4.9km section of onshore gas pipeline being installed inside the tunnel along with the control umbilical and other services. Once tested, the tunnel will be backfilled with grout”.

Shell Ireland expects first gas to flow, from Corrib, in mid-2015.

Gas was originally expected to flow from the field in 2003, with an initial estimate of €800m. The Corrib gas partners then hoped that gas would be brought ashore in 2011 — but this was before An Bord Pleanála ruled that half of a proposed overground pipeline would not be safe, necessitating a tunnel. Shell is counting the cost of that decision with the projected spend in 2013 and 2014 totalling €680m.


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