Shell finishes Corrib tunnel boring

Pipeline progress: Shell finishes tunneling at Corrib gas project

Shell has completed tunnel boring for its pipeline beneath Sruwaddacon Bay to serve the long-delayed Corrib gas field off western Ireland that is now expected to come online in around a year’s time.

The 4.9-kilometre pipeline section, which is to serve as a conduit for the gas pipeline between the Bellanaboy gas processing facility to the offshore pipeline landing valve at Glengad, reached its total length on Wednesday, junior partner Vermillion Energy of Canada said.

The tunneling was carried out by a joint venture between BAM Civil and Wayss & Freytag, both of which are subsidiaries of the Dutch BAM group.

Vermillion Energy said that several key tasks remained before production can be initiated.

The tunnel boring machine must be demobilised, flowlines and umbilicals must be run within the tunnel, the tunnel must be grouted, certain offshore well work-over activities need to be completed and final authorisations have to secured for the start-up of the gas processing facility, the company said.

“Based on the current deterministic schedule for the project, we anticipate first gas from Corrib in approximately mid-2015,” Vermillion Energy said.

The field is expected to yield peak production of around 9700 barrels of oil equivalent per day net to Vermilion Energy’s 18.5% stake in the project.

Faced with stiff opposition from local landowners as well as Irish environmental campaigners, the gas field has been put back many times due to protests and legal challenges.

Five landowners who refused to allow the project to go ahead prevented work on the project for 14 months and were eventually jailed in 2005.

Shell accepted a subsequent Irish government-commissioned review's recommendation that the onshore pipeline route be modified in 2006, which led to a lengthy consultation process on the revised route further from homes that was approved in 2011.

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