Tamboran Resources and Enegi Oil apply for Fracking Exploration Licences
Two companies have applied for exploration licences which could lead to the controversial process of fracking.
The initial onshore licences which only allowed for initial studies were granted two years ago and will expire tomorrow. Both companies had to apply for an exploration licence to continue their operations.
Exploration licences involve commitments to drill an exploration well, or wells.
A separate drilling permit is required before drilling is allowed.
In advance of any drilling, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would have to be conducted and that EIA would include a public consultation phase.
In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is carrying out its own study into fracking and it may be years before commercial drilling is allowed to take place, if at all.
Nevertheless, both companies have expressed satisfaction at the findings of their initial studies of both areas.
Tamboran estimates that 4.4 trillion cubic feet of gas could be under the ground in an area centred on south Fermanagh and north Leitrim, although independent estimates suggest the figure is closer to 3.2 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Enegi Oil says its initial findings suggest there may be between 1.49 trillion cubic feet and 3.86 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘Fracking’, is an
Industrial process used to exploit ‘unconventional gas plays’, areas where methane gas is distributed throughout the rock layer rather than concentrated in one reservoir. Fracking involves pumping massive volumes of water(3 to 5 million gallons plus per well), mixed with sand and chemicals, under huge pressure, to open up natural fissures in the gas bearing rock and allow the gas to be forced up the well to the surface to be harvested.
While Fracking has been around since the late 1940s, recent technological advances have led to a huge surge in shale gas exploitation since 2007. The Bush regime in the US exempted Fracking from clean air and water legislation, which allowed it to proliferate with a minimal of environmental regulation.
Fracking has caused environmental degradation and pollution of water supplies across the US. A 2011 study by researchers at Duke University in the US firmly establishes the connection between the Fracking process and
water contamination*. Three companies have been given preliminary authorisations to explore for shale gas in parts of 12 Irish counties, including
Cavan, Leitrim, Roscommon, Sligo, Fermanagh and Clare. Five Irish local authorities have voted to ban Fracking, but the decision on whether or not to allow it will rest with Government ministers and the Environmental Protection Agency.
There are numerous concerns surrounding this process, including:
• Environmental damage, air and water pollution,
in particular drinking water supply;
• Excessive water usage;
• Industrialisation of a rural landscape with
drilling pads on intersections of a 2 km grid;
• Infrastructure risk caused by a massive increase
in HGV traffic and resultant damage
to roads and increased risk of accidents;
• Long term human and animal health risks;
• Delaying of the transition to a low-carbon
• Economic risks, another short term construction
boom, followed by a massive bill
to the taxpayer to clean up the environmental
damage, while ownership of the gas is
transferred to private companies with a
negligible financial return to the State;
• Risks to Ireland’s tourism industry and to
Ireland’s reputation as a clean, green food
SOME of Sligo‘s primary classes are among the most overcrowded in the country.
More than 1,400 pupils are in ‘supersize’ classes of 30 or more.
That represents 21 percent of primary students in the county.
Sixty- two percent of pupils are in classes of 20 or more and 17 percent in classes under 20.
Leitrim has 18 percent of pupils in classes under 20.
Peter Mullan, Media Officer, INTO said: “Ninety percent of pupils in Sligo schools are in classes of 20 or more.”
In Carrick, some 150 protestors lined the bridge across the Shannon where a flotilla of boats met with marching anti frackers carrying home made banners.
In Manorhamilton there were around 200 people out for the ‘Family Day’ which had emphasis on the fun, but had a very serious message – “No fracking here.”
Both events featured open-air traditional music sessions and children’s face-painting in the afternoon sunshine, while a number of business premises in both towns also displayed anti-fracking posters.
In Manorhamilton, sessions were performed by The Unwanted (Cathy Jordan, Seamie O’Dowd & Rick Epping), as well as Rossa O’Snodaigh, members of Kila and Dervish on the Market Square.
Speaking in Carrick, Sinn Féin spokesman on natural resources Michael Colreavy TD said the extraction process had the potential to turn the area into “an industrial wasteland” and called explicitly for Hydraulic Fracturing to be banned.
Independent TD Luke Ming Flanagan said voters could send a powerful signal in the 2014 local elections.
Aghacashel organic farmer Mary Rose Geoghegan warned other farmers of the danger that Fracking posed to their livelihoods. Visiting campaigners from the Woodland League and Shell to Sea also made contributions.
The two Leitrim events were also linked when Rossa O’Snodaigh played a few tunes over the phone through the public address system in Carrick from his base at the Love Leitrim organised event in Manorhamilton.
No Fracking Ireland attached a series of banners listing twelve county names – to the bridge across the Shannon. This part of the protest was meant to convey forcefully that Fracking is not an issue that is local to Leitrim.
The event held in Dublin was instigated by Young Friends of the Earth who recently travelled to Leitrim to hear from locals in Leitrim on the issue. The key banner in their event read ‘Frack Leitrim – Poison Dublin’.
After speeches those present marched through Carrick on Shannon to the post office. The crowd cheered the posting of letters conveying a new demand of No Fracking Ireland to twelve County Councils. That demand is that these councils, including Leitrim and Roscommon County Councils, insert a blunt ban on fracking into their county development plans.
Those who came out for the event in the county town were greeted by a large Garda presence.