The media visit the Shell offshore drilling rig on the Corrib gas field.

Eighty miles off the Mayo coast lies Sedco 711, the gas rig owned and operated by Shell E&P (Exploration and Production) Ireland. Underwater robots work at a depth of three hundred and fifty metres and have already tapped two gas wells at the location, with more expected to be active soon. John Egan of Corrib Natural Gas explains that this process will,

Allow the gas that's in the reservoir to be brought ashore for processing at the Bellanaboy terminal.

The rig is serviced by its own helicopter and supply ship, with over ninety people employed here. Things are different when you live in your place of work for two weeks at a time says Irish drilling engineer Sara Naismith,

You tend to try and forget about what’s going on at home, and just concentrate on your work.

This is a complex and expensive offshore operation, but for Shell the investment is worthwhile. It says at current prices the estimated value of the gas field beneath the waves here is 2 billion euro, and will

Provide for Ireland’s energy needs in the coming decades.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 4 July 2007. The reporter is Gareth O’Connor.