Irish environment minister, Phil Hogan, today (March 25) approved a foreshore licence for the construction of the pipeline, which has put the oil giant at odds with local groups.

The gas field was found in 1996 by Enterprise Energy Ireland, which was then bought by Shell in 2002.

Plans for the pipeline have been controversial for the past six years, starting in 2005 when a small number of landowners refused to allow Shell to start construction work.

To resolve the problem the Irish Government had to appoint international consultants, Advantica, to conduct an independent safety review of the onshore pipeline.

The review included limiting the pressure in the onshore section of the pipeline to 144 bar – less than half the original design pressure of the pipeline.

Also in 2005, the Government also appointed an independent mediator Peter Cassells, who also recommended the route of the onshore section of the pipeline be modified.

The plans hit the headlines again in 2008, when local fishermen raised concerns over water leaving the terminal and entering the bay where they fish.

Following discussions with the fishermen, Shell and its construction partners agreed to discharge the water 83km offshore at an additional cost to the project of several million euros.

To see the full application click here, Shell lead the scheme as project operators (45%), along with Statoil Exploration (36.5%) and Vermilion Energy (18.5%).

Luke Walsh

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