Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Ceisteanna (123, 124)

Gerard Murphy

Ceist:

162 Mr. G. Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his plans for the future development of the Corrib gas field with particular reference to the early availability of supplies throughout the region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11456/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

377 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources when he expects supplies from the Corrib gas field to be available to the gas grid and through same to the towns and villages in the region throughout the west and north west; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11554/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 162 and 377 together.

In so far as my Department is concerned all necessary consents and approvals have been given for the development of the Corrib Gas Field. With these in place it is now up to the developer to proceed with the development of the field. Certain development works have commenced and are ongoing.

On foot of the recommendation of the Corrib mediator, Mr. Peter Cassells, the developer, Shell, has committed itself to modifying the route of the onshore pipeline. RPS consultants have been appointed by Shell to manage this process. I understand that public consultation is now under way to help choose the optimum route.

Progress on the development works will be the principal factor that will determine when the gas will come ashore. I understand that the developers anticipate first gas in late 2009. The transmission and distribution of gas throughout Ireland including throughout the western region, is a matter for the gas supply industry; I am aware that Bord Gáis Éireann has announced that it will be piping gas to several towns in the West and North West.

The Corrib field, when it is developed, will bring significant volumes of gas into the Irish system, which will reduce our dependence on imports and will enhance the security of our energy supply into the future. Having regard to the uncertainty relating to future oil and gas supplies, this project is of vital national importance. Delivery of Corrib gas also has the potential to bring significant benefits to North West Mayo and the region as a whole.

Question No. 163 answered with QuestionNo. 85.