Minister for Energy Alex White has given final approval for the Corrib gas project, almost 20 years after the discovery of the gas field off the Mayo coastline.
Mr White has issued Shell E&P Ireland with consent to operate the Corrib natural gas pipeline, linking the subsea gas facilities 83km offshore to the onshore refinery at Ballinaboy.
The consent is subject to 20 conditions relating to “environmental management, operation, control and monitoring”, Mr White said in a statement.
Mr White said that the natural gas field would meet “on average” 42 per cent of the all-island gas demand over its first two years of operation.
This would “add to gross domestic product by substituting for imported gas”, he said.
“The recent Government White Paper on Energy, which I published on December 16th, has set out a trajectory to a low-carbon economy by 2050,” Mr White said.
“However, this transition will take time, and fossil fuels will remain part of our energy mix for some years to come, as we first eliminate the most polluting fossil fuels such as coal,” he said.
“In this context, the development of indigenous gas resources will deliver significant and sustained benefits, particularly in terms of enhanced security of supply, import substitution, national and local economic development, and fiscal return.”