Pobal Chill Chomáin (People of Kilcommon) and two supporting NGOs filed a complaint concerning the Corrib gas project in North West County Mayo, Ireland run by a consortium of Shell E&P Ireland, Statoil Exploration Ireland, and Vermilion (which bought out Marathon Oils share in 2009). The project includes a gas processing plant and a pipeline to transport untreated gas from the sea to the processing plant.
The complaint alleges the pipeline would pass too close to populated areas and go through an area prone to landslides, raising health and safety concerns. According the complainants, given the instability of peat in some areas, there is an increased likelihood of pipeline failure.
The groups also point to environmental concerns. The location of the refinery poses a risk to the only source of potable water for 10,000 people in the region. Furthermore, the pipeline would pass through three ecologically sensitive areas and represents a threat to wildlife.
In addition, the groups allege the Corrib Gas project would violate many human rights espoused by the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
- Version 2000 Chapter II
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.2
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.3
- Version 2000 Chapter II Paragraph II.7
- Version 2000 Chapter V
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.0
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.1
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.2 Subparagraph V.2.A
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.2 Subparagraph V.2.B
- Version 2000 Chapter V Paragraph V.3
The Irish NCP, in cooperation with the Dutch NCP, conducted an initial assessment, and both NCPs declared the case admissible. The Norwegian, US and later Canadian NCPs were informed about the process.
However, the process was put on hold while direct discussions between Shell and the complainants were being facilitated by the Irish government. When these talks collapsed in early April 2009, the Irish NCP held separate discussions with the parties.
In September 2009, the NCPs summarised their findings in writing and asked the parties to react by the end of November. The NCPs surmised that mediation would be extremely difficult given the irreconcilable positions on the main issue: relocation of the planned processing plant. Shell has refused to discuss relocation, claiming it received all necessary government permits for the plant. There was also significant disagreement as to whether the consortium engaged in sufficient consultations with the community.
In January 2010, the complainants agreed with the NCPs assessment that mediation appeared impossible and requested that the NCPs close the procedure with a final statement.
The NCPs joint final statement focused on the issue of due diligence by the consortium, stating it was beyond its competence and mandate to draw conclusions on the validity of location of the processing facility.
The statement concluded that in the early stages of the project, dialogue with stakeholders had not been in accordance with the spirit of the Guidelines. However, since 2005, the consortium had improved its practices and shown willingness to address health and safety concerns. In response, the complainants expressed disappointment the NCPs had failed to consult with residents before coming to its conclusion.
The NCPs statement also advised that in general, enterprises have a responsibility to respect the rights of people impacted by their activities. Companies are expected to exercise due diligence in the broad sense of the concept, and they have a responsibility to consider going beyond what is legally required when it comes to consulting local communities.
The case is a positive example of collaboration among NCPs.
- Company in violation
- Other companies involved
- Affected people
- Other NCP's where the complaint was filed
- Date rejected / concluded
- 30 August 2010
- Pobal Chill Chomain Community et al. vs. Shell
- Pobal Chill Chomain Community et al. vs. Marathon Oil