THE CORRIB gas field is vital to Ireland’s future security needs, Chambers Ireland has said.
The head of Chamber Development David Bourke said the recent stand-off between Russia and Ukraine over a gas pipeline underlined the need for Ireland to have a gas supply of its own.
Chambers Ireland has been a strong supporter of the project despite all the controversy engendered by the decision to bring the pipeline onshore to a terminal at Bellanaboy in north Co Mayo.
The field, which should go into production by the end of next year or the beginning of 2011, could supply 60 per cent of Ireland’s gas needs when fully up and running.
The value of the field, over its 15-20 year lifespan, has been estimated at €3 billion, according to a report by Goodbody Economic Consultants, for the Corrib gas partners, comprising of Shell EP, Statoil and Marathon.
Mr Bourke described the Corrib project as “vital” to Ireland’s energy security at a time when we import 90 per cent of our gas requirements.
“This latest dispute between Russia and Ukraine further highlights the economic risks and heightens the important role that the Corrib project will play in reducing Ireland’s dependence on energy imports over the next 20 years,” he said.
He added that the Bellanaboy project is currently employing 900 at Erris and will employ 130 people when gas begins to flow from the Bellanaboy terminal.
“At a time of global economic uncertainty, let’s not threaten any more jobs,” he said.
Shell EP, the main partner in the project, is to resubmit its planning application for the pipeline route in the coming weeks to An Bord Pleanála. It is planning a minor re-routing away from ecologically-sensitive bog pools in the Rossport area.
An original route was given planning permission in 2005 but caused a huge public outcry because locals feared the pipeline would be located too close to homes in the Rossport area.