When is fracking not fracking?

iIPFxxAvBxysWhen an oil/gas company wants to drill, of course!

Look at what Rathlin Energy are planning to do near the Giant’s Causeway:

  1. Construct a drilling pad
  2. Drill down 2,700 metres – drilling day and night for up to 90 days
  3. “Stimulate” the well using hydraulic fracturing.  This could go on for 12 weeks, 12 hours per day and probably overnight as well.
  4. Collect flowback
  5. Flare off emitted gas for up to 14 days.

What is this if not fracking?

Yet Rathlin Energy persist in their claim that “fracking will not be used during drilling of this well”.

Who are they trying to fool?  The public of course!  And that includes you, me and everyone else.

Two statements from the EIS that must be queried

The results of the modelling exercise shows that the operation of the flares will not breach the relevant limits for the protection of human health or vegetation at the nearest sensitive receptors. (p16, EIS Non-technical Summary).

Yet, by their own admission, flare emissions can contain CO2, Carbon Monoxide (toxic), Nitogen oxides (some toxic), Sulphur Dioxide (toxic), particulates and, most worryingly of all “unburned hydrocarbons”.  The latter possibly include some real “baddies” – Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, and Xylene (BTEX).  So toxic, there are NO safe levels of exposure!  When nobody knows whether gas will be produced at all, not to mind its constituency, how can anyone say that public health is not at risk?  One only has to refer to relevant peer-reviewed reports from the US to know that flares definitely constitute a public health risk.

Now let’s look at how Rathlin Energy intends to get rid of flowback waste from the well:

The paragraph starts off, “Waste will be segregated and controlled.” (p20)  Then it describes what it does with flowback: ” Cuttings skips are provided for water based cuttings. They are removed by a licensed contractor for treatment,recycling or disposal as applicable”.

In other words, liquid wastes will not be controlled (by Rathlin Energy anyway). Water-based “cuttings” from hydraulic fracturing contain heavy metals, radioactive elements, brine and fracking chemicals. What treatment is available in Northern Ireland? NONE. Neither are there licenced contractors in Northern Ireland who could take on the task of recycling fracking waste. Which leaves “disposal”. When no adequate method is stated for safe disposal and with Northern Ireland’s record for waste disposal, could anyone have confidence that such waste could be disposed of safely? We don’t think so!

This EIS raises many questions that need answering.

It is madness to go ahead with a project that includes such uncertainties and risks to human health. 

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!


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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