Lochside Garage

Strong opposition mounting to method of gas exploration

An initial licence has been granted to an exploration company, based in Australia and Canada, to explore the Lough Allen basin, which crosses the border from Leitrim and Cavan into Fermanagh for the presence of gas.
Should this initial exploration prove successful the company would seek to extract the gas from deep within the ground by a controversial process knowing as hydraulic fracturing or ‘fraccing’.
A DETI spokesperson said: “The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment recently awarded a petroleum licence to Tamboran Resources Pty Ltd to explore for gas in Fermanagh.
“Tamboran’s main target is shale gas and should the initial results prove encouraging, the company would then apply to DETI to drill a deep exploration well in which they would use hydraulic fracturing (or ‘fraccing’) to test for gas flows.
“This licence is for exploration only. Before getting permission to drill such a well the company needs to satisfy the regulatory requirements of DETI, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Planning Service and the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland.
Opposition to the granting of this licence has come from all quarters including politicians and concerned private citizens.
Sinn Fein MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Phil Flanagan has urged residents of Fermanagh to ‘take a stand’ against fracking, a controversial gas extraction method, for which an initial licence has been granted for almost half of the county.
“Fracking has the potential to absolutely devastate the entire island of Ireland if past experiences from around the world have taught us anything; nothing illustrates this better than video evidence.” said Mr Flanagan.
“The impacts of this process are well proven and no amount of corporate or indeed government spin can alter that; across the world, fracking has led to huge levels of contaminated water, it has impacted heavily on the local environment and damaged the health of a large number of people. Concerned Enniskillen resident Victoria Scott is worried about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking)
“I saw something about it on Facebook – the process involves them going underneath the shale looking for gas.
“The process brings with it health complications and where it’s taking place in Pennsylvania (in America) animals are dying, and the groundwater gets contaminated.”
“You can’t drink the water, and you can’t use the shower. Some people have been able to set alight the water that comes out of the tap
“When I read about fraccing (initially) I thought I am lucky to live in Ireland. But it now seems this is coming to Ireland. A licence has already been granted. They want to profit from our groundwater. Imagine if we had to use bottled water everyday.
Ms Scott said the fracking process involves pumping thousands of chemicals into the ground to get the gas out, which she is hugely concerned about.
Marius and Isabelle Leonard from Corralea Outdoor Activity Centre have written to their local councillors about the issue and the threat they see to their tourist business.
“We are extremely concerned with the Petroleum Licence granted to Tamboran Resources Pty Ltd.
“We are aware of the dangers of gas exploration using the Hydraulic Fracturing process. This process of pumping a high pressured mix of water, hundreds of toxic chemicals and sand deep under ground in order to fracture the rock and release gas or oil is a threat to our environment.
“Our business relies on tourism for its livelihood and will be threatened by gas exploration.
Speaking yesterday, Tuesday, Phil Flanagan welcomed a commitment from the CEO of Tamboran Resources, Richard Moorman, that his company will not use any chemicals as part of a fracking process to remove gas in the south.
However, Mr Flanagan has said that a number of outstanding questions still need answered and that he is to seek a meeting with representatives of Tamboran to discuss these further.


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