Minister calls for investigation into odourless gas escape from Corrib

Published by Niall Sargent on

September 22nd, 2017

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring, has called for an investigation into how odourless gas from the Corrib field entered the network for Mayo and Galway.

Speaking this morning, the Fine Gael TD for Mayo said that the EPA is engaged with Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) to resolve the situation “safely and with minimal inconvenience to customers”.

He added that he is “extremely concerned” for the almost 10,000 homes affected, adding that there has clearly been a “serious failure in the system”.

The operator of the Corrib gas terminal,  Shell E&P Ireland, confirmed yesterday that a quantity of odourless gas has entered the gas network.

Normally a chemical containing sulphur is added to natural gas in order to make the odourless, colourless and tasteless substance detectable.

Galway City, Tuam and Headford in Co Galway have been impacted, as well as Ballina, Ballinrobe, Castlebar, Claremorris, Crossmolina and Westport in Co Mayo.

GNI has advised affected customers in these areas to switch off their supply at the gas meter box until further notice.

“While the risk is low, safety is our first priority in operating the network,” GNI said in a statement. “We are recommending this action because in the unlikely event of a leak customers in these locations only, will be unable to smell gas in the current circumstances.”

Flaring at Shell’s Bellanaboy Terminal began yesterday morning and continued throughout the night to burn off the existing gas within the system, the company said in a statement.

Flaring expected to continue today, resulting in increased noise levels and visual impact from the gas terminal site, according to the EPA, with inspectors from the watchdog attending the site.

Minister ring said, however, that the people also need answers from Shell “without delay” as to how this was allowed to happen.

“We were given guarantees that this type of thing couldn’t happen. Companies that sell potentially dangerous energy products to our consumers have an obligation to ensure that there is no risk to the customer. The fact that this has not happened is of the utmost concern,” he added.

Customers seeking assistance can visit Gas Networks Ireland’s website or call its customer care line on 1850 200 694.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London