Thursday 28 August 2008

Corrib gas partners must change licence

THE Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that the Corrib gas partners will have to reapply to change their emissions licence for the Corrib gas refinery, following an agreement brokered by Shell EP Ireland with north Mayo fishermen.

In a related development, a fisherman who refused to sign up to the Shell agreement, due to fears about the project's environmental impact, has been issued a warning by the Department of Transport's deputy chief surveyor. Pat O'Donnell has been told to keep vessels in his ownership a safe distance from the Highland Navigator, which has been carrying out surveying work for Shell EP Ireland ahead of the arrival of the pipelaying ship Solitaire in Broadhaven Bay.

The EPA's issuing late last year of an integrated pollution prevention control (IPPC) licence to the Corrib gas refinery was described as a "significant milestone" by Shell EP Ireland. The licence application had been the subject of an oral hearing in north Mayo.

However, the EPA said the company would have to reapply to it for any changes to its licence in relation to a recent agreement secured with Erris fishermen.

The fishermen had opposed the licence application at the EPA oral hearing on the grounds that marine emissions from an outfall pipe would have a negative impact on Broadhaven Bay.

The fishermen's association subsequently negotiated with Shell, and signed a compensation deal earlier this month in return for co-operation during offshore pipelaying.

As part of that agreement, the company promised the association it would use an "alternative method" of discharge for produced treated water, which is "subject to statutory approval".

Shell EP Ireland said yesterday that it was "currently examining a number of options with regard to the disposal of produced treated water . . . As part of the final decision on the optimum process we will consult with the relevant statutory authorities".

The Irish Times

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