Rathlin Energy is closer to drilling in North Antrim

A second well near the Giant’s Causeway

Rathlin Energy is closer to starting a second drilling in Ballinlea, North Antrim. The company has submitted the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), that the authorities requested last year. The project consists of a single borehole 2,700m depth to “test the prospects for commercial quantities of petroleum”.

This is the second Rathlin Energy project in the area. In 2008 they drilled the Ballinlea-1 well, where they found oil but not in commercial quantities. Later the Northern Ireland Goverment awarded the company with a more extensive licence. The goal is to continue to build upon the work completed in the first well.

Rathlin Energy applied for a new project 2013. EIS submission is a step forward to get planning permission to start the drilling. The company has always denied any intention of fracking  this well. However, the Non Technical Summary indicates that “conventional hydraulic fracture stimulation” and flaring will be use in Ballinlea. Is this not fracking?

The actual drilling will last for 9 to 12 weeks, the EIS points out. But if results are promising they may extend the tests for 9o more days. The documents considers landscape and visuals impacts as “acceptable”. Besides “there will be no detrimental impacts on human health”. For that reason “no health monitoring scheme is warranted if the proposed project goes ahead”.

Ballinlea Residents Groups are calling for help:
  • Please study these documents and bring to our attention, and the Planning Department’s attention, anything you find concerning. You’ve only got about 4 weeks and there’s a lot there!
  • We are looking for people to help with studying these documents – if you have any expertise in this area, or know anyone else who has, NOW is the time we REALLY NEED YOUR HELP.

You can contact they at: protectournorthcoast@gmail.com

If you want to know more about this fracking proposal click on the link below and check our timeline!


Tamboran’s licence terminated!

Good news for Fermanagh (and Leitrim) last night

The news went out at 6pm that the Minister had terminated Tamboran’s exploration licence.  Their initial licence was for three years, during which time they were to do some works, including drilling a borehole and analysing rock samples.  In March 2014 they requested a six-month extension on this licence to allow them time to do the work (until 30th September).  In July they arrived on site in Belcoo with the intention of drilling the 1,200m borehole in the Acheson and Glover quarry, setting off an extensive protest by residents, farmers and campaigners, together with a 24-hour camp at the quarry entrance.

No drilling rig arrived.  Instead, it was discovered by campaigners that the quarry did not have planning permission for activities that had already taken place – excavation, blasting, removal of rock.  Also, there were questions over the environmental impacts of these activities on a stream that runs from the quarry into Lough MacNean. An EIS was called for and many representations were made to the Minister for Environment, Mark H. Durkan.  On August 11th, the Minister made the decision that an EIS would indeed be required, given the quarry’s planning situation.

Now, time has run out for Tamboran.

On 30th September their licence expired and the Minister Arlene Foster has not allowed another extension but has terminated the licence.  GREAT NEWS FOR THE CAMPAIGN!

However, we have to strike a note of caution.  FRACKING HAS NOT GONE AWAY!  It was pointed out to us last night that

  • Tamboran are looking for a judicial review of the decisions made by the two Ministers.  It’s not over until this is completed.
  • The Minister said that someone else could apply next week – Northern Ireland is still open for business.  However, if there was a new application, it would have to include a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), which includes public consultation and certainly would delay the project considerably.
AND, of course, Ballinlea and Carrickfergus are still in the line of fire.  Our attention must focus on them immediately; the campaign must get behind what the local groups are doing and give them all the support we can.


Antrim – Northern Ireland’s fracking guinea-pig?

The industry is gearing up!
Background facts – Northern Ireland
  • Exploration in Northern Ireland is administered by the N.I. Dept. of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) who are advised by the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland.  Any person who wants to explore for, drill for or extract oil or gas in Northern Ireland must hold a Petroleum Licence granted by DETI.

  • Four Exploration licences were granted by N.I. Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) in 2011 to Tamboran (Fermanagh), Infrastrata plc (Larne Basin), Providence (Rathlin Island) and Rathlin Energy (Rathlin Basin).  (Rathlin Basin is the area encompassing Portstewart, Coleraine, Ballymoney and Ballycastle.)
  • A motion calling for a Moratorium on Fracking in Northern Ireland was passed by the Stormont Assembly in December 2012, however the Minister did not withdraw the Licences.  (Is the Northern Ireland Assembly actually a glorified Council with few powers?)
  • Recently (April 2013), a Licence was granted to CHx Ltd (An investment company associated with Aspect Energy LLC) for an extensive area around Lough Neagh.

Current Situation
  1. Object to the planning application before 25th July!

For letter template, click HERE

Or go to http://notofracking.com/2013/07/10/object-to-the-rathlin-energy-planning-application-by-25th-july/.

  1. Email or write to DOE, to the MLAs, to Councillors, to newspapers.  Full list of contacts to be found on notofracking.com web page (above)

  2. Spread the word around and get hundreds of letters emailed or posted

This is the final week for objections, ACT NOW!


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