Laura Siggins in The Irish Times Shell tells us that E&P Ireland has hired consultants RPS to assist it in finding a modified route for the controversial Corrib gas onshore pipeline.
The company's brief includes "consultation around the criteria for finding a modified route, surveying and mapping, engineering design, environmental assessment, procurement support and construction supervision", Shell said yesterday in a statement.
Public meetings are promised as part of the lengthy procedure which the company has been pursuing since a modified route was proposed by Government mediator Peter Cassells six months ago.
Under the company's plan, construction of its terminal at Bellanaboy may be well under way before a proposal for modification is submitted to Government.
Daily protests by residents as part of the Shell to Sea campaign are still continuing at the terminal site, and several demonstrators were injured last Friday in altercations with gardaí.
More than 100 gardaí are still deployed in Belmullet as part of security for Shell staff.
Shell has applied for a foreshore licence to carry out surveys on one alternative pipeline route via Sruwaddaccon Bay and is currently awaiting a decision from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.
RPS is described as a company which is "highly experienced in gas pipeline routing and environmental assessment", having worked for Bord Gáis on the 335km gas pipeline from Dublin to Galway-Limerick in 2002.
Shell also said yesterday that more than 200 people, "including a number of school groups", attended its open days last week in Castlebar and Ballina, Co Mayo