Irish Times: Pipeline opponents question relevance of review: "Mr Garavan said he was concerned that Advantica had in the past had business dealings with elements of the consortium. The technical advisory group advising Mr Dempsey acknowledged on Thursday that Advantica "has previously worked for Shell".": Saturday 27 August 2005
Opponents of the Corrib gas pipeline have claimed the latest safety review of the project is flawed because it "is asking the wrong questions".
The Shell to Sea campaign says the critical question "is not whether the pipe is designed to take the gas" but whether the pipe is correctly situated along its route through Rossport village.
Announcing the appointment of Advantica to conduct the review on Thursday, Minister for Natural Resources Noel Dempsey said the consultants' remit was to conclude whether the project installations:
r have been or will be designed, constructed, installed and operated to the best appropriate standards, codes of practice, regulations and operating procedures
r comply with recognised international best practice
r will deliver a facility fit for its purpose.
The consultants have also been asked to identify all documentation, as well as any material deficiencies, and make any recommendations based on their understanding and experience.
But Mr Mark Garavan of the 'Shell to Sea' campaign insisted yesterday: "The wrong questions are being asked here."
'Shell to Sea' has said that the Shell/Statoil/Marathon consortium was not bound to accept the results of the review.
Mr Garavan said the real question that should be asked was whether the pipeline was safe going through the village of Rossport, within 70 metres of local housing and buried just 1.2m into the ground. "This pipeline is sitting on unstable Atlantic bog which is 70 per cent water," he said.
Mr Garavan said he was concerned that Advantica had in the past had business dealings with elements of the consortium. The technical advisory group advising Mr Dempsey acknowledged on Thursday that Advantica "has previously worked for Shell".
Mr Garavan questioned the impartiality of the department in its role as appointing body, saying it had come out in favour of the project as far back as three years ago.
The 'Shell to Sea' campaign is now seeking the help of the Norwegian government in a comprehensive "root and branch" review of the project, particularly the safety aspects of the pipeline's route through Rossport.
Mr Garavan said it had largely been ignored that Statoil, one of the consortium partners, was more than 70 per cent owned by the Norwegian government, whose ultimate shareholding in the Corrib gas pipeline was about 25 per cent.
"We are hoping that the Norwegian government will not consent to what the Irish Government consented to, the endangerment of the people and village of Rossport to support the project," he said.
Announcing the appointment of Advantica, the technical advisory group said it was aware of the previous working relationship between Shell and the consultants. However, it said the relationship had been fully disclosed to the selection panel, was considered by the panel and deemed not to be a conflict of interest.
Mr Dempsey said he was "confident that the work can begin as soon as possible on the review and, due to the urgency of the situation, I have asked the firm to report to me within four to six weeks".
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