Tuesday 21 November 2017

Corrib gas: 12 years late and quadruple the budget

Gordon Deegan

The Corrib Gas partners are now counting the cost of a contentious An Bord Pleanala ruling as the bill for the project is set to hit almost €3.4bn before the end of next year.

The company driving the project, Shell E&P confirmed yesterday that the Corrib Gas Partners last year spent a further €250m on the project, which has yet to make any commercial returns.

The 2012 outlay brought the total spend on the project to €2.68bn at the end of December last.

Work continues on the subterranean 5km tunnel to bring the gas ashore, and a Shell spokesman confirmed yesterday that a further €380m will be spent on the project this year, with a projected €300m to be spent on the scheme in 2014.

The firm expects the tunnel to be complete by the middle of next year with the first gas to flow by 2015.

The spiralling costs associated with the €3.36bn project make it the largest commercial investment by private investors in one single project in the history of the State.

Gas was originally expected to flow from the field in 2003, resulting in the project likely to be 12 years behind the original schedule, and the outlay will be more than four times the initial estimate of €800m.

The Corrib gas partners had hoped that gas would be brought ashore in 2011 -- but this was before An Bord Pleanala ruled that half of a proposed overground pipeline would be unsafe, necessitating the construction of the tunnel.

The project is now counting the cost of that decision, with the projected spend on the entire scheme in 2013 and 2014 totalling €680m that coincides with the construction phase of the tunnel.

SEPIL are not in a position to provide the cost of the tunnel, however a spokesman said that "a sizeable proportion" of the spend in 2013/14 is on the tunnel.

Irish Independent

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