The Justice and Peace organisation Afri, has reiterated its call for a suspension of works and an independent assessment of all safety issues surrounding the Corrib Gas Project, in the wake of the magnitude 4.0 earthquake, which occurred on the 6th June 2012 60 kilometres from Belmullet, close to the Corrib gas field. The controversial project to extract gas, headed by Shell, is continuing, involving the building of a 5 kilometre pipeline linking the offshore pipeline to the Bellanaboy terminal.
Afri Coordinator, Joe Murray, said that news of an earthquake in the region is of particular concern as a spokesperson from the British Geological Survey has stated that an earthquake of such magnitude had never occurred in this area previously. “This provides further evidence that there are real causes of concern around the safety of the gas pipeline which, despite being raised consistently by members of the local community, have never been adequately addressed.”
Further questions are raised by the fact that, this weekend Shell conducted hydo-testing using a specialist sub-sea vessel. The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group also lodged a complaint in May about the seismic survey licence granted by the Department of Energy arguing that this may be in breach of EU Directives as the survey involves acoustic explosions repeated continuously every 50 metres in a 122sq km area for 100 days, which would disturb marine life. “It is worrying that while these tests are being carried out, such an unprecendented event as this earthquake should occur” said Mr Murray.
In light of this earthquake and of previous major landslides in the area, Afri believes that the relevant Authorities must, even at this 11th hour, acknowledge that the location is not suitable for a high pressure pipeline. Failure to do so will leave them liable for any potential damage or loss of life in the future.
Press release: 7th June 2012