History of the Corrib Project

​​​​​​History and Statutory Consent

The Corrib Gas Field was discovered off the west coast of Ireland in 1996. Approximately 70% of the size of the Kinsale Head field, it has an estimated producing life of just over 15 years.

The Corrib project was formerly managed by Enterprise Energy Ireland Limited and is now being developed by Shell Exploration & Production Ireland Limited (SEPIL), Statoil Exploration (Ireland) Limited and Vermilion Resources (Ireland) Limited, SEPIL will act as Operator of the Corrib Gas Field.

Under the Section 40 consent, the Corrib Gas Pipeline project consists of 7 Phases which can be viewed here.

Original Statutory Permissions

In 2001 the Corrib Developers sought a number of consents and approvals to develop the Corrib Project. These included:

An application to the (then) Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (the "Minister") for a Petroleum Lease pursuant to section 13 of the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960, ("POMD Act"), as amended. The Plan of Development submitted sets out the basis for the project, the reasons behind the selection of the appropriate development option, and a comprehensive and technical outline of the project and how it would operate. The Plan of Development is a large and technically complex account of the entirety of the project, how it interacts with other entities, and the precise technical details of its operation. The Plan of Development can be downloaded here in seven parts: Plan of Development Part 1, Plan of Development Part 2, Plan of Development Part 3, Plan of Development Part 4, Plan of Development Part 5, Plan of Development Part 6 and Plan of Development Part 7. On 15 November 2001 the Minister and the Minister for Finance granted the Petroleum Lease to the Corrib Developers.

An application was submitted to the Minister on 21 November 2001 for approval of a draft Plan of Development pursuant to the POMD Act 1960 and the Petroleum Lease. On 15 April 2002 the Minister granted consent to the Plan of Development.

An application to the Minister for consent to construct a pipeline pursuant to section 40 of the Gas Act 1976, as amended ("Pipeline Authorisation"), was also submitted in November 2001. The application was accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement. On the 15 April 2002 the Minister granted the Pipeline Authorisation to the Corrib Developers under Section 40 of the Gas Act, 1976.

An application to the Minister for a consent under Section 5 of the Continental Shelf Act 1968, as amended ("Continental Shelf Act Authorisation") was submitted in April 2001. On 15 April 2002 the Continental Shelf Act Authorisation was granted to the Corrib Developers by the Minister.

An application to the Minister for a Foreshore Licence under section 3 of the Foreshore Act 1933, as amended ("Foreshore Licence") was submitted. The application was accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement. On 17 May 2002 the Foreshore Licence was granted to the Corrib Developers by the Minister. Further information on the Foreshore Licence is available here.

The Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources requested that the Marine Licence Vetting Committee ("MLVC") examine all environmental aspects of the Corrib Gas Field development proposed by the then developer Enterprise Energy Ireland Ltd. Further information on the MLVC including its report is available here.

Environmental Monitoring Group

The establishment of an Environmental Monitoring Group ("EMG") was one of the 24 conditions attaching to the original consent under Section 40 of the Gas Act 1976 dated 15 April 2002. The group meets monthly and meeting reports can be viewed here.

Other Relevant Consents

In addition to the statutory consents granted by the (then) Minister of Marine and Natural Resources, the following original consents are also relevant to the project as a whole:

Planning Permission for Onshore Terminal

Planning permission for the onshore terminal, accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement, was sought from the Local Authority in April 2001, and its decision to grant permission was subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála. The Bord refused the application on the basis of issues around the stability of large amounts of peat stored on site. On 22 October 2004 Planning Permission was granted by An Bord Pleanála, in response to a subsequent application for the gas terminal and associated peat deposition site subject to 42 conditions.

Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Licence

An application was also made for an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Licence ("IPPC Licence"). An IPPC licence was granted by the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") in November 2007.

Establishment of the Technical Advisory Group

In mid-2005, following concerns expressed by members of the community in the area in which the project is located, the Corrib Developers agreed to suspend works, pending the outcome of an independent safety review. The Technical Advisory Group ("TAG") was appointed by the Minister to deal with two distinct elements of the Corrib project. The first of these was to administer a thorough and independent safety review of the onshore upstream section of the Corrib gas pipeline. Following a tender competition, Advantica, a UK consulting company was chosen, to conduct the safety review. The second was to put in place and administer an upgraded monitoring and inspection regime for the pipeline. Further details on TAG and related publications can be found here.


In the meantime a mediator (Mr. Peter Cassells) appointed by the Minister, had engaged in a seven month period of consultation with the community in the region and SEPIL. While unable to reach an agreement between the parties, he did make a series of recommendations on the issues. One of these recommendations was "that SEPIL modify the route of the pipeline in the vicinity of Rossport to address community concerns regarding proximity to housing".

The Corrib Developers agreed to do so and following a route selection process involving several months of public consultation, a proposed new route was selected by the Corrib Developers for the gas pipeline between landfall and the terminal.

Following the new route selection, SEPIL submitted an application in March 2008 for a new Pipeline Authorisation and an amended Plan of Development to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

In January 2009 this application was withdrawn with a new application submitted to the Minister on the 9 February 2009. SEPIL's decision to modify the route of the pipeline between landfall and the terminal resulted in further applications to:

An Bord Pleanála - Planning Permission

Under Section 182C of the Planning and Development Acts, 2000 to 2007 (as inserted by the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act, 2006), accompanied by an Environment Impact Statement, SEPIL applied for planning permission. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is a statutory consultee under this process.

Applications for Compulsory Acquisitions Orders relating to the Corrib pipeline application have also been made under this process.

All existing planning permissions issued by An Bord Pleanála (http://www.pleanala.ie/) in respect of the Corrib Gas Field Development can be viewed on their website.

Foreshore Licence- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

An application accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement was made to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/) for a new or amended Foreshore Licence, details of which can be viewed on that Departments website. Further information can be found here.

(1) The information on this page has been prepared with other Government Departments and Authorities. Information in relation to other Departments and Authorities has been reproduced with their permission. Queries in relation to such information should be directed to the Government Department or Authority concerned.