Corrib Field wells ready to flow soon

THE first gas from the Corrib field gas project has taken another step closer following confirmation by Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL) that the Ocean Guardian drilling rig successfully completed its work on the P6 well in the Atlantic Ocean.

Work at the Corrib field, which is located 85 kilometres off the Mayo coast, began in early May. Gas was flared from the rig for a 24-hour period, confirming the production capacity of the completed P6 well. This means that all five Corrib wells required for start-up are now ready to flow.

In the coming weeks a number of other vessels will be working at the Corrib field installing flowlines and other sub-sea infrastructure in preparation for the first gas. Meanwhile, good progress continues to be made on the final elements of the project.

Another major project milestone was achieved with breakthrough in the Corrib tunnel taking place on May 19 last. With the completion of tunnel construction, the coming months will see the 4.9-kilometre long section of the onshore gas pipeline being installed inside the tunnel along with the control umbilicals and other services.

The Corrib tunnel, which is the longest tunnel in Ireland, runs under Sruwaddacon Bay and will be used to connect the previously laid 83 kilometres offshore pipeline from the Corrib field to the Bellanaboy Bridge gas processing terminal. Once installed, testing of the pipeline and umbilicals will take place before the tunnel is backfilled with a grout mix to completely seal it.

At Bellanaboy, preparations are being made for a pre-start up testing programme at the gas processing terminal using ‘back feed’ gas from the national grid. This commissioning programme is due to commence in the autumn.

Over €300 million alone is being invested by SEPIL and its partners, Statoil and Vermilion Energy, in 2014. This follows significant investment  in previous years.
An analysis of the investment since 2006 on the Corrib project shows that in excess of €1 billion has been spent with Irish companies, with over 300 Irish contracting companies being engaged on the project and more than 900 people from Erris or Mayo being employed on the project to date.

Currently 1,000 workers are employed on the project and while this figure will begin to gradually decrease towards the end of the year, employment will remain significant through 2015 with reinstatement activities at Glengad, Aughoose and the terminal taking place.

The coming 12 months will see a busy period of work continuing on the Corrib project. SEPIL expects first gas to flow in mid-2015.