Shell E&P Ireland Limited (SEPIL) and the Corrib Gas Controversy

Case Solution

James Kennelly, Trevor Mengel
North American Case Research Association (NACRA) ()

This case speaks to a complex, long-standing and emotional dispute between Shell Exploration & Production Ireland (SEPIL) and opponents of the planned natural gas pipeline and gas processing plant in County Mayo, Ireland. The Corrib gas project is years behind schedule and over budget. SEPIL not only needs to complete the project, but must do so in accordance with its own principles of corporate social responsibility. This case provides an opportunity to examine the challenges associated with using stakeholder management approaches. Students should evaluate different options available to SEPIL, such as: Should gas be processed at sea, as demanded by the loudest protesters? Should the processing facility be relocated to an uninhabited area, as other protesters want, which would mean the cancellation of a significant investment? Is this project worth it at any cost? Finally, despite the required legal approvals, the final implementation would likely require the use of Garda Siochána (the Irish national police force) and other Irish state resources, as well as Shell’s own contracted security force, to keep the protesters. But what is the potential impact of doing so on Shell’s reputation and what happens if something goes wrong? It not only depends on the approach that SEPIL chooses, but also on how the measure is implemented. This case is best for use in MBA and higher courses in Business Ethics, Economics and Society, International Business, and Economics and Nature.

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