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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 26 March, 2019
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Shell's Mayo gas terminal is rumbling into life with flare tests

Tests at the plant are expected to continue until early next year.

Image: gas flare via Shutterstock

LOCALS LIVING CLOSE to Shell’s Bellanaboy terminal in Mayo have been warned that loud flaring will take place over the coming weeks.

The plant is slowly rumbling into life. Nearby residents were informed that testing of equipment at the plant will continue until January in the new year.

Part of this process is testing flare systems, which are used to depressurise equipment before maintenance work is carried out.

The flame created by the 40m high flare stack burns for between 15 and 30 minutes, and can create a sound similar to a passenger jet flying overhead.

These have been spotted in recent days.

“All gas terminals have flaring systems,” operations manager Stuart Basford said in a newsletter to local residents.

Bellanaboy Terminal (1) File photo of the Bellanaboy terminal. Source: Shell

“They are the plant’s backup safety valve. Testing of the flare system is an important element during the commencement of the operations process.”

The letter also notes that ‘the final section of the onshore pipeline is being welded together inside the Corrib tunnel under Sruwaddacon Bay’.

A spokesperson for Shell said that “operations have progressed to the introduction of gas from the Bord Gáis Networks grid to the Bellanaboy Bridge Gas Terminal”.

“This is part of the ongoing process leading to production of gas from the Corrib Field in 2015,” they added.

Although currently a necessary part of the operation of a gas terminal, flaring has been criticised for its impact on the environment, as it can harm local wildlife and emits carbon dioxide.

It is also argued that flaring wastes billions of euro worth of gas every year.

Read: Fleadh Cheoil organisers to ‘respectfully’ return Shell funding after public outcry >

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Nicky Ryan

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