Irish Times: Shell rejects sections of review of Corrib safety as unlikely: “Shell E&P Ireland has rejected some of the findings of the Government's safety review of the Corrib gas onshore pipeline…”: “…it takes issue with a number of points made by the consultants, including the possible emergence of the contaminant hydrogen sulphide (H2S) or "sour" gas in the Corrib system.”: “…which can have similar impacts on cellular respiration to carbon monoxide or hydrogen cyanide.”: “…the Erris Inshore Fishermen's Association… says the study confirms its suspicion that Shell "cannot or will not implement the project in an open and transparent way": Posted Wednesday 28 December 2005
Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent
Shell E&P Ireland has rejected some of the findings of the Government's safety review of the Corrib gas onshore pipeline, while accepting the "principle" of limiting gas pressure.
The company says it intends to "study all aspects of achieving" this particular recommendation which was one of a number of measures advocated by Advantica consultants in its draft review of the onshore pipeline.
However, it takes issue with a number of points made by the consultants, including the possible emergence of the contaminant hydrogen sulphide (H2S) or "sour" gas in the Corrib system.
The highly toxic contaminant is caused by biodegradation or thermal decomposition of organic matter, which can have similar impacts on cellular respiration to carbon monoxide or hydrogen cyanide. It can also have a corrosive effect on pipelines if driven at high pressure.
Shell E&P says it is "very unlikely" that the pipeline would be exposed to hydrogen sulphide concentrations that would exceed design limits. No hydrogen sulphide was measured in any of the samples of hydrocarbons taken in the Corrib reservoir, it says, but it has proposed a "monitoring procedure" to the Health and Safety Authority as a safeguard.
The company's detailed response to the draft pipeline safety review is one of a series published by Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey on his department's website last Friday, before preparation of a final report.
The final report is due out in January and will be forwarded to Mr Dempsey's Corrib technical advisory group for further recommendation. Shell is also due back in court next month in relation to its legal action against six objectors to the high pressure onshore pipeline, even as separate mediation talks between Shell and the local community facilitated by former Ictu secretary-general Peter Cassells are continuing.
The Shell to Sea campaign, representing opponents of the onshore pipeline, did not make a submission as it says the basic terms of reference for the safety review were too narrow. It has called on the Government and Shell to reconfigure the project.
Shell's submission, which was not immediately available on the department's website at the weekend, acknowledges that the review was "thorough". However, it says it has "taken the opportunity . . . to provide further information" while also seeking clarification on certain points.
The company agrees with the consultants' recommendation that the Government should consider a risk-based framework for decisions on proposed and existing major hazard pipelines and related infrastructure to ensure transparency and consistency in decision-making. However, it infers that this is "primarily for future infrastructure projects".
It also believes that "a comment" by the consultants that comparative international criteria used in the Corrib onshore pipeline quantified risk assessment were "relevant and best available in the absence of such a framework" would be "useful and reassuring to readers".
Shell's submission is accompanied by detailed observations by pipeline designer and assessment author JP Kenny, which also takes issue with a series of points, including the publication of the draft "without giving the designers the chance to review and revert with additional information or to correct any inaccurate statements made". It wants an assurance from the department that the draft will be "removed from the public domain once the final report is issued".
Submissions were also made by other interested parties, including the Erris Inshore Fishermen's Association, which says the study confirms its suspicion that Shell "cannot or will not implement the project in an open and transparent way", and exposes flaws in its planning.
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