Tuesday 21 November 2017

Gas supply 'fully restored' to customers in west of Ireland following alert

The Bellanaboy terminal
The Bellanaboy terminal
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

Gas supply has been fully restored to natural gas customers in Galway and Mayo.

Gas Networks Ireland released a statement to media on Saturday evening, confirming they have "completed the restoration of fully odourised gas in the network in Galway and Mayo."

"The work was successfully completed by our crews this evening," the statement reads.

"All customers in Counties Galway and Mayo can now use gas safely."

They advised that all customers ensure that their appliances are switched off before they turn their gas supply back on.

Gas Networks Ireland also apologised to their customers for any inconvenience caused and said they thanked them for "their patience".

Those with gas supply in the west of Ireland were requested to turn their supplies off after an odourless natural gas entered the network through Shell's Corrib gas refinery on Thursday.

Gas Networks Ireland issued an alert on Thursday to customers in parts of Co Galway and Co Mayo.

Yesterday it said supplies in Loughrea, Ballinalsoe and Gort were safe to be switched on.

Natural gas is odourless, colourless and tasteless. A chemical containing sulphur is added to it during the refining process for safety reasons.

It is believed one fifth of a day's supply entered the network from Shell's Bellanaboy terminal without the additive.

It's understood the glitch was discovered by a worker in the refinery.

Shell E&P Ireland said it was the first time the issue has occurred in Mayo. It said a "small quantity" of the odourless gas was in the system. "Work is ongoing to remove a quantity of un-odourised gas, which entered the Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) network," it said.

"Flaring is expected to continue today at the Bellanaboy Bridge Gas Terminal to remove the gas in a safe and controlled manner."

Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring said the issue needs to be investigated immediately by the State agencies to reassure people and businesses.

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