TAG and Advantica

The Technical Advisory Group ("TAG") was established in August 2005 and was set up to deal with two distinct elements of the Corrib project. The first of these was to administer a thorough and independent safety review of the onshore, upstream section of the Corrib gas pipeline. The second was to put in place and administer an upgraded monitoring and inspection regime for the pipeline.

Following a tender competition, Advantica, a UK consulting company was chosen, to conduct the safety review. The report was published, following several rounds of public consultation, on 3 May 2006.

The review concluded that "there will be a substantial safety margin in the pipeline design…. And that the pipeline design and proposed route should be accepted as meeting or exceeding international standards in terms of acceptability of risk", provided that certain recommendations were followed. These recommendations included the modification of the shore valve installation so as to ensure that the pressure in the onshore section of the pipeline would be limited to 144 bar. While the operating pressure was always intended to be below this level, this additional safety measure would ensure that the onshore section could never be exposed to pressures higher than 144 bar, despite the fact that the pipeline was designed to withstand much higher pressures in emergency situations.

The Minister published three other reports on 3 May 2006. The first is a report from TAG to the Minister. The second is a report on inspection and monitoring issues, while the third is a short note which sets out in tabular form the recommendations of the Advantica Report, the TAG Report and TAG's recommendations on inspection and monitoring, showing relationships where appropriate and identifying the parties responsible for their implementation.

TAG established a consultation process to allow written submissions to be made to Advantica. As part of the public consultation process, TAG, and its consultants, held a two day public hearing in Geesala on the 12 and 13 October 2005. The public hearings were chaired by John Gallagher SC.