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Corib Gas in Rossport, Ireland


The Corrib Gas Field is a reserve of natural gas situated 80 km off the west coast of County Mayo containing at least 1 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of natural gas. The Corrib Gas Project, directed by a consortium of companies led by Royal Dutch Shell, seeks to bring the gas ashore at Glengad in the Barrony of Erris in North West Mayo and to pump the unrefined gas 9km inland through an inhabited area to a refinery located on a boggy hill where it would be cleaned and depressurized for sale and export.

The Enterprise Consortium sought a site to build a gas terminal and in 2003 they purchased 400km2 of state forestry land from Coillte the state forestry agency. The development concept which the Enterprise Oil Consortium had selected for the Corrib Gas was that of a land based refinery. Instead of processing the gas at sea, the consortium intends to pump high pressure raw gas to an unprecedented inland refinery where it would be processed for sale and consumption.

The main work on the ground began at the refinery site in spring 2005.

Opposition to the gas consortium and governments plans among local residents grew from 2000. Many reason for the opposition: Local residents felt they were not adequately consulted.

The location of the pipeline and its proximity caused concern Local residents opposed planning permission and appealed it to The Planning Board twice.

It was felt that government pressure was used to force the planning permission through.

They also felt misled about the safety of the gas pipeline which did not require planning permission under the 1976 Gas Act.

The location of the onshore processing facility on former forestry land caused concern adjacent to water supply.

Jailing of protesters at the request of Shell Concerns about the marine ecology.

Five men, known as the Rossport Five, were jailed on 29 June 2005 for civil contempt of court after refusing to obey a temporary court injunction forbidding them to interfere with work being undertaken by Shell on their land. There were protests all over Ireland during the period of the mens imprisonment, with filling stations of Shell, and its junior partner Statoil, being picketed and blockaded. Most of the problems regarding environmental and community concerns result from the refinery location, with the Shell to Sea campaign proposing that the refinery be located offshore, as is done with Irelands only other producing gas field off County Cork. A recent petition of the 1200 Kilcommon residents clearly showed that the majority do not support the project in its current form.

Basic Data

NameCorib Gas in Rossport, Ireland
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level

Source of Conflict

Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Oil and gas refining
Specific Commodities
Natural Gas

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsExtraction is predicted to continue for to 20 years. Corrib will produce between 310 and 350 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd).

The tunnel which Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan signed off on the Foreshore Licence for Shell is planned to run under Sruwaddacon Estuary which is designated a Special Area of Conservation.

Shells planned tunnel: 4.9 kilometers long 4.2 meters in diameter 15 months of tunnelling 24 hour a day tunnelling 472 truck movements a day at peak construction 68,000 m3 of material removed 2.5 km of 3m high fencing
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1998
Company Names or State EnterprisesRoyal Dutch Shell (RDS) from Netherlands
Statoil from Norway
Vermilion Energy Trust from Canada
Relevant government actorsMayo County Council, Irish government
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersShell to Sea, Rossport Solidarity Camp

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Irish and International environmental activists
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
kayaking towards the companys sea facilities


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
- Appealing to the An Bord Plenala, which aims to play our part as an independent national body in an impartial, efficient and open manner, to ensure that physical development and major infrastructure projects in Ireland respect the principles of sustainable development, including the protection of the environment.
Development of AlternativesTo build the facility offshore.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The project has not been stopped yet but has been delayed.

On 2 November 2009 An Bord Pleanála informed the developers of the Corrib Gas Project that it could not approve the application to the Board made under the Strategic Infrastructure Act and invited Shell to modify the pipeline route.

Shell now propose a route modification along the lines suggested by an Bord Pleanála and have submitted a new application under Section 40 of the Gas Act 1976 with supporting EIS. This modified route also results in a new application for a Foreshore Licence from the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

As part of SEPILs 2010 application to An Bord Pleanála, an Oral Hearing commenced in Belmullet, Co. Mayo on 24 August 2010.

Sources and Materials


Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act, 1960:

Gas Act 1976:

Forshore Act, 1933:

EIA Directive (Community Directive 85/337/EEC as amended by 97/11/EC and



Pipe Down is an hour long documentary that tells the story of a rural community in Co. Mayo in Ireland, who have been battling the oil giant Shell over their plans to put a dangerous raw gas pipeline through the community and complete construction of a ga

Short documentary about Rossport Solidarity Camp and the struggle against Shell:


Website of the group Shelltosea:

Rossport Socidarity Camp Facebook website:

Wiki Corib gas controversy:

Pipeline EIS Submission. Prepared by: ENVIRON UK, 2011:

Corrib Offshore EIS:

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources: Affairs Division/Corrib Gas Field Development/Corrib Gas Field Development.htm

Review of the 2010 Corrib Gas

Meta Information

ContributorAmaranta Herrero
Last update08/04/2014