Corrib Onshore Gas Pipeline

The Corrib natural gas field was discovered in 1996 with the first appraisal well drilled in 1997. Shell E&P Ireland Ltd (SEPIL) secured licence for the project, which included the construction of a natural gas pipeline and gas processing plant. The completed development is a critical piece of national infrastructure producing much of Ireland’s future gas supplies over the next 15 to 20 years.

 

Project timeline

  • 1996

    Corrib Gas discovered by Enterprise Oil which submitted plans to pump it ashore and build an onshore terminal in north Mayo

  • 2001

    Government petroleum lease granted to Corrib field

  • 2002

    April - Corrib acquired by Shell who became lead development with Statoil and Marathon

    May - Minister approves compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) for onshore pipeline

  • 2004

    Planning consent approved for gas terminal

  • 2005

    June - ‘Rossport Five’ local residents jailed for contempt of court for refusing to obey court injunction on lands for onshore pipeline and local opposition to project increased

    September - Local residents released after Shell drops injunction

  • 2006

    May - Government orders safety review which recommends lowering the pipeline pressure

    July - Government mediator recommends modification to onshore pipeline 

  • 2007

    January - RPS appointed to examine pipeline and advise on planning, routing, environmental communications and reconfigure community relationship

    February - RPS opens local community liaison to hear local concerns and starts public engagement

    March - RPS continues open days to consult locals on route options, seeking to move route further from housing 

  • 2007 - 2008

    Eight alternative routes examined, leading to a shortlist of three for further examination and preferred route announced 

  • 2009

    Planning application by RPS lodged for new pipeline route sent to An Bord Pleanala

  • 2011

    Following two planning applications and two public oral hearings, An Bord Pleanala approved the shorter pipeline route through tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay

  • 2011 - 2014

    Construction of onshore pipeline

  • 2015

    Corrib gas connected to Irish gas network

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1996

Corrib Gas discovered by Enterprise Oil which submitted plans to pump it ashore and build an onshore terminal in north Mayo

2001

Government petroleum lease granted to Corrib field

2002

April - Corrib acquired by Shell who became lead development with Statoil and Marathon

May - Minister approves compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) for onshore pipeline

2004

Planning consent approved for gas terminal

2005

June - ‘Rossport Five’ local residents jailed for contempt of court for refusing to obey court injunction on lands for onshore pipeline and local opposition to project increased

September - Local residents released after Shell drops injunction

2006

May - Government orders safety review which recommends lowering the pipeline pressure

July - Government mediator recommends modification to onshore pipeline 

2007

January - RPS appointed to examine pipeline and advise on planning, routing, environmental communications and reconfigure community relationship

February - RPS opens local community liaison to hear local concerns and starts public engagement

March - RPS continues open days to consult locals on route options, seeking to move route further from housing 

2007 - 2008

Eight alternative routes examined, leading to a shortlist of three for further examination and preferred route announced 

2009

Planning application by RPS lodged for new pipeline route sent to An Bord Pleanala

2011

Following two planning applications and two public oral hearings, An Bord Pleanala approved the shorter pipeline route through tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay

2011 - 2014

Construction of onshore pipeline

2015

Corrib gas connected to Irish gas network

SEPIL appointed RPS to find a modified route for the Corrib Onshore Pipeline in consultation with the local community and other relevant stakeholders. Our project communications team worked tirelessly with local stakeholders over an 18-month period to inform the route selection process. Following a robust and successful planning process, construction began in July 2011 and was completed in December 2015.

The onshore pipeline linking the offshore pipeline to the land based gas terminal/refinery comprised 8.3km of 508mm upstream gas pipeline, 4.2km of which was installed in a 4.2m diameter segment lined tunnel beneath an environmentally sensitive bay up to 10m below the sea bed.

The Corrib Onshore Gas Pipeline won the Engineers Ireland Outstanding Project of the Year Award in 2016.

Key details

Project name

Corrib Onshore Gas Pipeline

Client

Shell E&P Ireland

Location

Mayo, Ireland

Services provided 

  • Pipeline routing
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Construction support
  • Public consultation
  • Oral Hearing
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Communications strategy
  • Public relations
  • Issues management and crisis communications

Challenge

The Corrib Onshore Pipeline project was a highly sensitive project to develop. It was extremely complex in terms of planning, engineering, environmental and communications. Strong opposition from the local community was centred around the location of the onshore processing facility, the onshore pipeline route and the transmission pressure of untreated upstream gas in the pipeline.

After much high profile opposition to the project, RPS was appointed in 2007 as an independent integrated consultancy team to provide communications, environmental and planning advice and services. RPS were tasked with re-configuring the onshore pipeline. 

Rig platform at the Corrib gas site, Mayo, Ireland.

Solution

Following an integrated community engagement programme, a new step-by-step route selection process commenced with seven routes initially shortlisted to three. This led to a planning application and EIS for the newly selected route which was approved by An Bord Pleanála (Irish Planning Board) after two separate public hearings in 2011. Construction of the onshore pipeline started in 2012, completed in 2014 and commissioned in 2015.

RPS delivered:

  • 8.3KM of 508mm upstream gas pipeline, 4.9km of which was installed in a 4.2m diameter segment lined tunnel 10m below the sea bed. 
  • 3D BIM models for the tunnelling compounds onshore pipeline and landfall valve installation. 
  • Management of a public consultation and information process (over an 18 month period) which gathered local input in relation to route selection criteria and feedback on identified route options as these emerged during the route development process;
  • Hosting public information events, structured consultation meetings with members of the local community and private meetings with groups and individuals from the local community.

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