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Minister Dempsey faces mass opposition in Donegal

category donegal | miscellaneous | press release author Wednesday July 20, 2005 13:19author by Ruairi - Shell to Seaauthor email muscailt at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors

The West's Awake!

Family and friends of the 'Rossport five' who were jailed recently for preventing a major gas pipeline being built on their land will be will be joined by Donegal farmers, nuns and environmentalists when ask some difficult questions of Minister for the marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey this coming Thursday.

Minister Dempsey will be addressing the McGill Summer School in Glenties on 'Managing the Future'.

Following a large protest in Letterkenny recently, the North West Shell to Sea group will be attending the summer school to express their fury at the continued imprisonment of the five Mayo men and the involvement by the government in allowing the project to go ahead.

A spokesperson said 'This situation can't go on. There's five innocent men in jail. Multinationals Shell and Statoil are building one of Europe's biggest gas refineries on sensitive bog land in North Mayo. They are putting people's lives at risk of a high pressure gas pipeline which should not be processed on shore - it should be sent to sea as is normal practice. Furthermore they are destroying a pristine natural environment with the promise of a handful of jobs at the end of it.'

The Shell to Sea campaign are also drawing attention to the economics of the plan. 'We intend asking Minister Dempsey what kind of future has he in store for the people of Ireland. Is it one where multinational companies can compulsory order your land? Is it one where government and corporations bully and imprison people who object peacefully? Is it one where an estimated 20 billion euros of Irish gas is to be piped out of the country with little or no return to the Irish people? 20 billion euros would certainly sort out our critical health service not to mention the lack of youth and community facilities.
We as taxpaying citizens have a right to know how are resources are being managed and mismanaged, especially since there may be a substantial gas field in and around County Donegal'.

The group are also organising a forum called 'Our resources - Our Future', which will take place from 6pm to 9pm in Glenties Community Centre following Minister Dempsey's address.

The forum will feature speakers from the Mayo campaign as well as represenatives of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers association.

The forum will be chaired by Sr. Nellie McLaughlin of Inishowen who is a respected author and lecturer.

All are invited to come and hear the people of Mayo talk about their campaign work over the last four years and the ongoing imprisonment of their friends and family.

Related Link: http://www.shelltosea.com
author by Johnpublication date Wed Jul 20, 2005 19:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Your knowledge of economics is abysmal. But, what else do you expect from socialists who have destroyed the economy of every country they have taken charge of? There is no 20 billion euro pot of gold in the Corrib field available for immediate use. 20 billion euro is the total value of the field spread over its lifetime. That lifetime will be anything from 20 to 30 years. The value of annual production will amount to no more than 500 to 700 million euro. From this must be deducted the capital depreciation costs, since extraction of gas from a field miles out in the Atlantic and at that depth requires a multi-billion euro investment. From what remains must also be deducted the wages of the production workers. And from what remains after that must also be deducted the return on investment to whatever oil company develops the field. That return needs to be large enough not only to cover the investment in this field, but the investment made in previous exploration wells over the past 30 years that proved dry. But, go play your silly little games if you want. Deceive yourself into thinking that some small farmers and workers coop can master the technology needed to develop a gas field at the bottom of the ocean. Deceive yourself into thinking that somewhere in the world there is an oil company that will develop this field for zero profit. You're living in cloud-cuckoo land. And the gas isn't going to be piped out of Ireland. Its going to be piped into the Irish national gas grid. Is that too difficult for you to understand?

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Wed Jul 20, 2005 19:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

According to your own figures.
20 years would yield 1 billion/year
30 years would yield 700 million/year.

So 700 - 1000 million per year, not the 500 - 700 you claim. And yes, as you point out the costs of developing the resource would have to be subtracted from both of those.

One intriguing aspect of your analysis is that you seem to have proved that it's not worth the Irish people allowing this resource to be extracted at the present time.

If Shell are paying us, the Irish people, fuck all for the resource, and it's too expensive to develop ourselves then all we get by allowing the development is the possibility that some locals in Mayo get burnt, a bog is definitely destroyed and a scenic area (important for the guaranteed income of tourism) is destroyed.

Doesn't sound like smart economics to me.

Much better to let the gas stay where it is until it becomes more valuable (given that the oil is running out anyone hanging onto it will be in possession of a scarce resource in the future).

All the oil firms are busy deploying extraction mechanisms on fields that were previously of marginal interest (off coast of Ecuador etc.). The big deal is trying to figure out the cheapest way to do it (including the costs of disposing of the equipment afterwards). Shell must be laughing their heads off at the economically-sophisticated paddies like yourself.

author by Johnpublication date Thu Jul 21, 2005 15:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is worth developing because of security of supply. If its not developed, Ireland will have to import the equivalent amount of gas and/or oil from abroad. As most oil comes from poltical unstable countries, it would be foolish to rely more than is necessary on oil from those countries. If Al Quaida should get control of the Middle East, oil supplies to the West would be cut. This would least affect countries like the UK, Norway, the Netherlands and some others who produce their own oil and/or gas. Likewise America could survive as it produces 70 per cent of the energy it uses. But, Ireland produces far less of its own energy than these countries. If the oil supply to the West was cut, Ireland would be one of the worst hit. Our economy would literally grind to a halt. Hopefully, America will destroy Al Quaida before long, so that nightmare scenario won't happen, but it would be criminal not to develop our own energy resources to the maximum extent possible in case it does. Why don't you look at the wider picture occasionally? Leftists in Ireland are forever prattling about America and Britain intervening in the Middle East to protect their oil supplies. In fact, Ireland is far more dependent on such intervention than either of those countries, we produce not a drop of oil. If you succeed in stopping Shell developing Corrib and in a few years our oil supply is cut or reduced, don't be saying you weren't warned. As for the value of the field, the original 20 billion euro figure came from the intial poster. Its a very rounded-up approximate figure. The estimate of 500 million to 700 million euro annually is based on the predicted annual output from the Corrib field and the currently-predicted price of gas/oil in the next few years of around 50$ per barrel. The Economic and Social Research Institute recently predicted oil would come down to 40$ per barrel in the next couple of years. If that proves true, the annual value of the Corrib field will be less than 500 million to 700 million. If it proves false and the price of oil rises the annual value will be more.

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Thu Jul 21, 2005 17:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

QUOTE: "It is worth developing because of security of supply. If its not developed, Ireland will have to import the equivalent amount of gas and/or oil from abroad."

RESPONSE: If the "unstable" oil supply, which is flowing very nicely thanks to the wider picture of the US bombing the shit out of Iraq and threatening Venezuela, were to cease then I'd wager that Shell/Statoil would negotiate a very favourable deal (as compared to the completely laughable oil-for-free deal that the eFFers negotiated).

The wider picture is that oil is diminishing in availability and will become more valuable the longer it is left. It sounds like the Corrib field is relatively easy to develop and we'd be stupid to extract it now instead of leaving it to appreciate in value as it become scarcer.

Then, when Shell/Exxon whoever are struggling to extract gas from the tarry-shale deposits in Canada or trying to reduce the cost of building platforms on smaller clasical deposits the Corrib field will be a genuine asset and can be realised for its true value.

This whole farrago is a perfect example of the incompetence of successive Irish governments to show an ounce of cop in business or economic development. In stark contrast to the rhetoric of being parties of business, development or enterprise the whole FF/PD mentality is revealed for petty gombeenism.

The only interests these people are good at looking after is their own.

author by Johnpublication date Thu Jul 21, 2005 20:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Your analysis is absurd. If Middle-East oil was cut off, the economic situation in Ireland would be as follows: (a) the Irish economy would have ground to a halt (b) electricity would be rationed to a couple of hours a day (c) a million would be unemployed (d) thousands would be freezing to death (e) all transport would have halted (f) foreign tourism would have ended. To suggest that in such a situation Ireland would be in a strong bargaining position to negotiate a good deal with Shell or any other oil company is laughable. In that situation Ireland would be on its knees begging Shell to come and develop the Corrib field. It makes no sense to delay exploitation of a natural resource such as this for a century in the expectation that oil will have run out by then. You underestimate the ingenuity inherent in the capitalist system. As oil starts to decline, and it won't happen for decades yet, the technologically-advanced capitalist countries will develop alternatives: nuclear power, solar power, wind power. You might find that you wait so long to develop Corrib that the development of other forms of energy render it worthless. If successive Irish Governments are so incompetent, how come Ireland has such a successful economy, with full employment and attracting 80,000 immigrants a year, many of them from countries that have had leftist governments more to your liking for most of the past 50 years?

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Thu Jul 21, 2005 20:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Making decisions based on panicky, near-hysterical premonitions of the oil being cut off tomorrow is unrealistic. There's going to be a smooth transition from oil to non-oil (and if you think that the non-oil is going to be anything but nuclear power then you're definitely living in cloud cuckoo land).

I'm not talking about waiting a century, I'm talking about waiting to the point when Shell (or whoever) realises that the Middle East situation is looking less favourable (and I'm betting the West continues to control it and this won't happen, but anyway ...) and is desparate to develop other resources.

Selling now is foolish.

In the light of the above throwing away what is going to be an appreciating asset for next to nothing right now and damaging our already declining tourism (which is far more important in revenue than anything except agriculture and EU subsidies) would be colossally dumb.

So keep backing advocating it. It suits you. (And your associated disregard for the rights of the local people to not live in danger is actually the main point, but the fact that you're backing a naive squandering of a natural resource reveals a lot. Add to that your rantings about the economy which you've never backed up with meaningful metrics and you become a figure of fun.)

author by Searc - Alternative to Pylons, Donegalpublication date Fri Jul 22, 2005 00:26author email info at dun-na-ngall dot comauthor address Donegalauthor phone Report this post to the editors

What a farce - Minister Dempsey appropiated the Proclamation of 1916, Shackelton the explorer, JFK, Oscar Wilde et al to support his treatise that the 'sons of destiny' are visionaries!
He managed to waffle his way talking about the past instead of 'managing the future' as the MacGill Summer School is titled.
Joe Mulholland, the chair, allowed the minister to frantically scribble notes while numerous people posed their questions - then the Minister just waffled a few replies and kept harking back to 1916 - as if the people in 1916 would have sold out the West!
Various speakers from Rossport posed questions which he didn't answer and the local people were disgusted at him talking about the great economy we have when there is so much unemployment in Donegal and heckling ensued - at which point the Chair was going to put an end to the proceedings - then Pearse Doherty of Sinn Fein pointed out that there are exploration oil and gas licenses pending for the Donegal coast which should be rethought in the face of oppositon to the Shell operation in Mayo -
Dempsey accused Pearse of having 'an army of researchers'....
Dempsey buried his head most of the time and kept his legs and arms folded, rocking in agitation at being questioned at all - the golden boy literally paled a few degrees.
The last word was left to Paul Durkan (yes the poet) who pointed out that most of the men and women of 1916 were poets and as a poet himself he asked that our 'sacred hills' be not draped in wind farms....
A much livlier and informative meeting took place in the Community Centre later in the evening and was well supported by the Greens, Sinn Fein and local environmental groups.

This was the first time in many years that the MacGill school related to MacGill - a champion of the down trodden Irish.

Gardai patrol Rossport 5 protestors at MacGill Summer School, Glenties 21/7/05
Gardai patrol Rossport 5 protestors at MacGill Summer School, Glenties 21/7/05

Related Link: http://www.dun-na-ngall.com/atp.html
author by Johnpublication date Fri Jul 22, 2005 14:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Shell will never be 'desperate' to develop Irish oil/gas resources, but Ireland might. Ireland will never produce enough oil/gas to export it. At most it will produce enough to maybe cover half our imports. Its of little importance to Shell whether or not Ireland's puny oil/gas resources are developed, since any production of oil/gas from them will be destined for Irish consumers only. What you don't seem to realise is that in global energy terms Ireland counts for nothing. We're an energy-poor country, little coal and little oil/gas. I doubt if Ireland's total oil/gas reserves amount to 0.00001% of global oil/gas reserves. That hasn't stopped Ireland developing a sensationally successful economy. But, to ensure that success continues we need to be aware of risks to that success and then minimise them. The chief risk to Ireland's continued prosperity is disruption to our supply of oil/gas from abroad as a result of poltical instability in the Middle-East. The Government has a duty to minimise that risk by encouraging the production of oil/gas from our own resources, small though those are. And since there are no domestic companies, either public or private, that are remotely capable of producting oil/gas from fields out in the Atlantic, that means bringing in multi-national oil companies to do it for us.

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