Safety Before LNG
Exposing the truth about the Hess 'Shannon LNG' project
Negative Effects on the Shannon Estuary
Nevada LNG Explosion

Irish Law and Policy

28th April 2008: Kilcolgan Residents Association submission to Petroleum Exploration and Extraction (Safety) Bill 2007

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Eamonn Ryan, T.D., wished to initiate a public consultation concerning the draft Heads of the Petroleum Exploration and Extraction (Safety) Bill, 2007.

The Draft Heads of Bill which propose to confer statutory responsibility for the safety of petroleum exploration and production on the Commission for Energy Regulation (‘CER’) will implement a key finding of safety studies carried out in relation to the Corrib Development.

The draft Heads of Bill provide that the CER will regulate petroleum exploration and extraction activities with respect to public safety and will be required to establish a safety framework for this purpose. The statutory structure to underpin this process is also set out in the Heads of Bill.

Kilcolgan Residents Association made submissions as did Marathon Oil who highlighted an issue of concern to us, namely that there is not a clear demarcation of the CER's proposed role and the role of the existing regulatory agencies such as the Safety Authority and Maritime Safety Directorates.
The Irish Offshore Operator's Association (IOOA) commented that:

"IOOA would be concerned that adequate expertise and guidance is available within the CER to support the proposed Safety Framework. For example, taking the UK Safety Case regime as a point of reference, the legislation is supported by a number of additional regulations specific to the offshore industry e.g.. Prevention of Fire, Explosion and Emergency Response (PFEER) and Offshore Installations and Wells Design & Const Regulations (DCR) etc. (Head 3)

The proposed linkage between the safety permit and other E&P Licenses is unclear - any such lonkage needs to be clearly to defined to avoid negative impacts on what is already a convoluted permiting regime (Head 15)."

The most serious flaw in the HSA’s approach to safety opinion it gives to planning authorities, which we fear will be replicated implicitly in this bill, is to consider only the probability of an accident and to ignore the consequences of an accident in the safety evaluation of gas and petroleum infrastructure projects.

We therefore urged that the Safety Case should not only be submitted to the Commission but should also be subject to public scrutiny, sanction and approval.

Finally, we were deeply concerned that this bill is attempting to explicitly and implicitly allow a parallel system of planning and development of gas and petroleum without full consultation with the general public and without powers of the general public to veto projects which put their lives in danger when a viable alternative exists.

Please click here to find copies of the Submissions that were received on foot of the public consultation on the Heads of the Petroleum Exploration and Extraction Bill, 2008 , including that of 'Safety Before LNG' / Kilcolgan's Residents Association and also a copy of the Department's response to the submissions received.

Click here to see a copy of the Dáil Debate on the bill .

Click here to see new precedent set on assessing consequences or accidents for sizeable hazards as opposed to probability.