The economics of the controversial gas pipeline off the coast of County Mayo.

The Minister for Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey has given Shell Ireland permission to begin work on a 75 kilometre offshore pipeline as part of its plan to develop the Corrib gas field. The decision has been welcomed by Shell. But opponents of the project say they are disappointed that permission for the pipeline was granted before an independent safety review, which had been promised by the Minister, is completed.

Business leaders say the Corrib Gas field will keep Irish energy costs down and support jobs. The developers will pay double the normal rate of tax on profits in return for the right to sell the gas. But SIPTU maintains the tax is too low and the Government should also be paid royalties.

David Murphy takes a look at the economics of bringing the gas to shore and speaks to Brenan Butler, Director at IBEC, and Andy Pyle, Managing Director at Shell E&P Ireland.

If it does not go ahead, we will have to buy more from Norway and the North Sea. Importing gas costs more and has the risk of disruption in supply.

Protesters have raised major safety concerns over the Corrib gas field. All of which have been rejected by Shell.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 2 August 2005. The reporter is David Murphy.