Plans for Fracking in Ireland

Republic of Ireland

7.1 map FINISH_yellowThree “Options Licences” were granted in the Republic of Ireland by the Department of Energy and Natural Resources in 2011. These allowed oil and gas companies to do desktop studies of the licencing area, carry out shallow drilling (200 metres) and complete seismic studies of the area. They did not allow deep drilling or hydraulic fracturing.  February 2013 was the date of expiry of all licencing options.  However, the companies involved were allowed to submit applications for exploration licences.  Tamboran Resources (Lough Allen Basin) and Enegi Oil (Clare Basin) have submitted such applications.

The current situation (December 2014) is as follows:

1. Lough Allen Basin (Tamboran Resources):  Their application was incomplete as they did no drilling.  Instead, they proposed using the results of deep drilling in Fermanagh to support their application.  This was agreed by the Dept. of Energy.  Since they failed to carry out this work, and their licence has expired in Northern Ireland, the position of their application for an exploration licence is unclear.  Additionally, the government has agreed not to issue further licences until an EPA-led research study on the ‘Environmental Impacts of Unconventional Gas Exploration and Extraction’ is complete and considered.  This study is due for publication in late 2016.

2. Clare Basin (Enegi Oil):  To fulfil their licencing requirement, Enegi Oil carried out drilling without a Prospecting Licence.  The legality of their operation must therefore be questioned.

Northern Ireland

Four exploratory licences have been issued in Northern Ireland by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI).  The licences were signed off by the DUP Minister Arlene Foster.  The four areas and companies involved are:

3.  Fermanagh                      Tamboran Resources
4.   Rathlin Island                      Providence plc
5.   Rathlin Basin                       Rathlin Energy
6.   Larne Basin                          Infrastrata

The current situation (December 2014) is as follows:

1. Fermanagh:  The plan to drill a deep borehole in July was aborted.  The Minister for Environment, Mark H. Durkan, ruled that an Environmental Impact Statement would be required for the drilling site.  This was followed by a ruling from Minister Arlene Foster that their licencing period had expired and their exploration licence was cancelled.

2. Rathlin Island:  The plan to explore for conventional gas/oil off the coast was cancelled in …., due to “lack of prospective possibilities”  [check this quote]

3. Rathlin Basin:  Rathlin Energy is focusing on Ballinlea, an area near to Bushmills and the Giant’s Causeway, where a well was drilled in …..  The local council have demanded an Environmental Impact Assessment and a Health Impact Assessment before allowing further drilling.  These are now due and the company has published plans for drilling in Spring 2015.

4. Larne Basin:  Infrastrata is focussing on an 4-acre site on the outskirts of Carrickfergus, 10 miles from Belfast, and 400 metres from a water reservoir bring water to North Belfast as well as Carrickfergus.  Infrastrata claim that their proposed drilling falls under “preferential planning??” and therefore does not need planning permission.  They also plan to start drilling in Spring 2015.



  1. Thought you might like to listen back on the debate I had with Aidín McLoughlin on Newstalk Breakfast last Tuesday 2nd December 2015.
    [audio src="" /]

  2. Thanks for links, interesting indeed

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