Safety warning as gas customers urged to turn off their supply
- Odourless gas gets into system sparking fears
- Smell added to gas to ensure a leak is detectable
- Flares operating in the area
- Several areas across Mayo and Galway affected
Gas Networks Ireland customers in the west of Ireland have been advised to turn off their gas at the source after odourless gas entered the network at the Corrib terminal.
In a statement issued this evening the company said:
"The operator of the Corrib gas terminal has confirmed that a quantity of odourless gas has entered the gas network. This affects natural gas customers in Galway and Mayo only.
"Natural Gas is odourless, but a smell is added, for safety purposes in the unlikely event of a leak.
"We are urging gas customers... to turn off their gas supply at the valve in their meter box until further notice.
"We are recommending this action because in the unlikely event of a leak customers in these locations only, will be unable to smell gas in the current circumstances.
"We will work with priority customers including hospitals to try to ensure their operations are not interrupted.
"We are working with the Corrib operator to resolve this issue and remove the un-odourised gas from the network in a safe and controlled fashion.
The affected areas are: Galway (excluding Loughrea, Craughwell and Ballinasloe), Tuam, Headford, Ballinrobe, Claremorris, Castlebar, Westport, Crossmolina and Ballina.
It is estimated that it will take between 48 and 72 hours to correct.
"Gas Networks Ireland apologises to customers for any inconvenience caused by these measures. While the risk is low, safety is our first priority in operating the network," the utility said in a statement.
Detailed instructions on how to turn off your gas supply can be found here.
The EPA is currently monitoring the situation.
Cllr Peter Roche said that the move to warn customers about the potential risk was welcome.
"Any move like this is welcome because it shows that they are prepared to take the necessary safety precautions and ensure that there is no risk," he said.
Residents living in the vicinity of the Corrib terminal at Bellanaboy- run by Shell- reported flaring which has been occurring at the terminal from the early hours of this morning.
Local man Terence Conway told the Independent.ie: "It’s massive, the whole sky has been lit up in fact.
"The flaring has been going since about before 7am (yesterday) morning. The dogs here have gone half mad and so have the cattle with the noise," Mr Conway said.
Flaring is a safety procedure which is being used to burn off the odourless gas.
The controversial gas terminal at Bellanaboy has been operational since late 2015.
The Customer Care line for Gas Networks Ireland can be contacted on 1850 200 694.