Major setback for Shell’s Corrib gas pipeline as court quashes licence

The Shell Corrib gas pipeline project has suffered a major setback after the Commercial Court granted an order quashing the revised licence issued for the Shell gas terminal at Ballinaboy.

Major setback for Shell’s Corrib gas pipeline as court quashes licence

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had issued the revised licence last June, but the agency conceded in court yesterday that Martin Harrington was entitled to the quashing order due to defects in relation to how the EPA carried out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) concerning the terminal development.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly granted the order to Mr Harrington, of Doohoma, Ballina, Co Mayo, after the EPA said it was not opposing his legal challenge to the revised integrated pollution prevention and control (IPPC) licence issued by the agency to Shell E&P Ireland. The EPA will also pay Mr Harrington’s legal costs.

The licence had permitted the operation of a gas refinery and combustion installations, with a rated thermal output of 50mw or greater, at Ballinaboy Bridge gas terminal, Bellagelly South, Co Mayo.

Shell E&P Ireland was a notice party to the proceedings and had applied last August to have them fast-tracked on grounds the case had “significant potential commercial consequences” for the €2.7bn Corrib gas project.

The company said construction of the terminal has been largely completed and it was intended to begin commissioning the terminal gas infrastructure, under the revised IPPC licence, on Apr 1, 2014. It was intended that would be carried out by importing natural gas through the terminal’s connection with the national grid through which gas from the Corrib field will later be transported to the market, the company said.

The company envisaged work to be carried out related to the project to the end of this year would cost about €170m under existing contracts and ongoing construction and maintenance costs for the terminal, overall project team and offices.

The company said it had also recruited a significant number of local staff to operate the terminal and, in all the circumstances, was anxious the case be decided as soon as possible.

Mr Harrington argued, in issuing the revised licence, the EPA failed to carry out an EIA in accordance with the requirements of various EU directives, including the Habitats Directive.

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