Tamboran notifies department of environment of intention to drill exploratory borehole in fermanagh

northern ireland executive

The Northern Ireland Executive have provided a press release concerning Tamboran Resources planned exploratory bore hole:

Commenting on the notification, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “There is no planning application with DOE to frack. I have been consistently clear on this issue: granting permissions relating to fracking operations will only take place when it has been supported by very strong evidence which indicates that fracking is safe for public health and the environment. No decisions have been taken in relation to permitting fracking. No planning application or applications for environmental permissions have yet been received by my Department and any future applications will be considered in a very robust manner.”

“The energy firm Tamboran today notified my Department of its intention to drill an exploratory borehole in Fermanagh. Under planning rules, this type of exploratory drilling may fall under ‘permitted development’. However, before the company is given permission to proceed, a full “screening” process under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations will be required to ensure that there is no potential for significant environmental impact. I will ensure that this screening process is rigorous and definitive before permitted development rights are considered.

“If any aspect of this development is likely to have a significant environmental impact, permitted development rights will not apply. I have instructed officials to consider carefully whether or not these rights apply and I will make a statement about the Department’s decision in due course.”

To access the article, click here.

Security in place at belcoo drill site

The Impartial reporter have confirmed that security measures have been put in place around the Acheson and Glover Quarry, where Tamboran Resources propose to carry out a bore drill.

tamboran security

The Impartial states:

Workers were busy clearing the site in preparation for drilling and a security firm was erecting fencing. There are a number of Alsation dogs on site too.
Early this morning (Monday) Tamboran officials visited Belcoo homes issuing letters and information leaflets, outlining its intention to drill nearby.
A protest has been organised at the site at 7pm this evening, with local anti-fracking protestor Donal Ó Cófaigh stating: “A community that has never been consulted about whether it wants to be fracked have yet again been treated in the most disrespectful manner by the company who want to PROFIT from this poisonous industry.”
These preparations are getting underway despite Environment Minister Mark H Durkan’s statement earlier today that questioned whether Tamboran has permitted development rights to drill its borehole. He said: “Before the company is given permission to proceed, a full screening process under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations will be required … If any aspect of this development is likely to have a significant environmental impact, permitted development rights will not apply. I have instructed officials to consider carefully whether or not these rights apply.”
Meanwhile, Tamboran has said that the proposed scientific borehole will be about 15cm (6 inches) across and around 750 metres deep. It will be drilled using “standard techniques and materials.” The drilling operation will be completed in approximately 30 days and rock samples will be examined on site and subsequently sent for laboratory ANALYSIS to better understand its content.
Director of Tamboran Resources (UK) Dr Tony Bazley has said: “People have a right to the facts and that is what we are seeking to establish.”

To access the article, click here.

Tamboran announces drilling plans

The Fermanagh Herald have released an article concerning Tamboran’s bore-drill in Belcoo, County Fermanagh.

The Fermanagh Herald state:

FRACKING COMPANY Tamboran Resources Limited has today (July 21) confirmed that it intends to drill a scientific borehole to collect rock samples in south west Fermanagh.
The company has said that at this point, no ‘fracking’ will take place.
The site for the borehole is near Belcoo, described by a company spokesman as ‘an enclosed commercial area already used for heavy industrial purposes that will have limited visual impact’.
In 2011 Tamboran was granted a Petroleum Licence for an initial five year period from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and INVESTMENT to explore for natural gas in County Fermanagh.
The collection of rock samples (core) is a key requirement of the work programme set out by Government within the licence and the company said it is determined to meet its obligations in full.
The company plans to carry out the work by September 30, hoping to commence drilling operations in late August.
The rock samples will be analysed to help confirm the presence of a natural gas source in County Fermanagh. This will enable the company to determine if it will be possible to extract the gas at a much later date, subject to full planning approval.
Making the announcement, Dr Tony Bazley, Director of Tamboran Resources (UK) Ltd said:
“Tamboran’s intention at this stage is only to verify that the elements necessary for natural gas and its recovery are contained within the shale in County Fermanagh. This is fact-finding, not fracking. If County Fermanagh is home to a significant natural gas resource that could provide Northern Ireland with decades of a local secure energy supply then we believe the people have a right to know.
“We believe that the presence of natural gas in Northern Ireland could bring considerable benefits to the local and regional economy with the potential for billions of pounds of INVESTMENT; hundreds and potentially thousands of jobs created locally and importantly for Northern Ireland a secure supply of energy that could last for decades and potentially help reduce local energy costs. However, we first need to make sure enough gas is there to be commercially viable and that we will not know for certain until the end of the licence period. This is just the first stage in that process,” said Dr Bazley.
The controversial gas extraction method has been widely debated across the county, and recieved stern opposition from local politicians and anti-fracking activists.
Anti-fracking activist, Donal O’Cofaigh, from Belcoo, has said previously that the construction of frack WELLS ‘would devastate our countryside and threaten thousands of jobs in tourism and agriculture’.
“Big business, their political representatives and the corporate-owned press are all lining up behind fracking.
“They are only interested in PROFIT, no matter the cost to people’s health, living standards and our environment.
“It’s now up to ordinary people to get organised and stop the frackers in their tracks.”

To access the article, click here.

Acheson and glover comment on Tamboran drilling

The Impartial Reporter have released a statement given by Quarry site Acheson and Glover, the site within which it was announced today that Tamboran Resources are to begin their test drilling.

The Impartial Reporter states:

A spokesman from the company said: “We can confirm that Tamboran Resourses UK is using an existing Acheson and Glover commercial quarrying site to drill a scientific borehole for the Fermanagh Shale Gas Project.
“The site near Belcoo is enclosed and will have limited visual impact for the local area and its residents. The project will involve no fracking and will be for finding purposes only.
“Despite this announcement being made now, there is no drilling activity planned for a number of weeks. It is also important to point out that the only involvement we have with this project is that we own the land where the exploration site is situated.”
They said they would not be commenting further on the matter.

To read the article, click here.

Tamboran to drill belcoo site by late august

It has been reported by the Impartial Reporter that Tamboran Resources are to begin their borehole drill in late august, amidst the news that equipment had arrived in the early hours of this morning.

The Impartial Reporter state:

The scientific borehole will be about 15cm (6 inches) across and around 750 metres deep and will be drilled in a Belcoo site owned by Acheson and Glover’s (but not in its main Belcoo plant). There will be no fracking ivolved
Tamboran officials are on the ground in Belcoo this morning speaking to locals about their plans for fracking. The company says that it will NOT frack the Acheson and Glover site in the future.
In a statement released this morning a Tamboran spokesman said:Tamboran has today informed the Department of Environment and the Department of Enterprise, TRADE and Investment of its detailed plans to carry out this work before 30th September 2014. If granted permission to proceed, the company hopes to be able to commence drilling operations in late August.
The proposed scientific borehole will be about 15cm (6 inches) across and around 750 metres deep. It will be drilled using standard techniques and materials. The drilling operation will be completed in approximately 30 days and rock samples will be examined on site and subsequently sent for laboratory analysis to better understand its content.
The rock samples will be analysed to help confirm the presence of a natural gas source in County Fermanagh. This will enable the company to determine if it will be possible to extract the gas at a much later date, subject to full planning approval.
Making the announcement, Dr Tony Bazley, Director of Tamboran Resources (UK) Ltd said:
“Tamboran’s intention at this stage is only to verify that the elements necessary for natural gas and its recovery are contained within the shale in County Fermanagh. This is fact-finding, not fracking. If County Fermanagh is home to a significant natural gas resource that could provide Northern Ireland with decades of a local secure energy supply then we believe the people have a right to know.
“We believe that the presence of natural gas in Northern Ireland could bring considerable benefits to the local and regional economy with the potential for billions of pounds of investment; hundreds and potentially thousands of jobs created locally and importantly for Northern Ireland a secure supply of energy that could last for decades and potentially help reduce local energy costs. However, we first need to make sure enough gas is there to be commercially viable and that we will not know for certain until the end of the licence period. This is just the first stage in that process,” said Dr Bazley.
The spokesman added: “The site near Belcoo, County Fermanagh is in an enclosed commercial area already used for heavy industrial purposes that will have limited visual impact. It will be secured on a 24/7 basis and the company will be taking all appropriate precautions to ensure the site is safe for workers and crucially local people. The company can also confirm that it will not seek to ‘frack’ on this site at any time in the future.”
Dr Bazley continued: “If the indications are that there is not enough natural gas that can be released from the shale rock then we will know this quickly and almost certainly decide not to continue with our investment in Northern Ireland. If we find a significant gas resource is likely we will continue to the end of the licence term in 2016. Before the end of the licence term a single site would be tested for natural gas if given planning permission.”
“Any future application will be subject to the strictest environmental, health and safety standards and the public would have their opportunity to participate. This however, is still a long way off and ultimately any decision to use hydraulic fracturing will be made by the Government of Northern Ireland.
“We suggest that given the potential benefit this can bring to everyone in Northern Ireland that this deserves serious consideration and debate. We would ask that people approach with an open mind and willingness to listen to all the facts before making an informed decision. We believe the people and Government of Northern Ireland have a right to know if there is gas beneath our feet. People have a right to the facts and that is what we are seeking to establish.”

To vies the article, click here.

Concerned health professionals of New York release fracking compendium

The Concerned Health Professionals of New York just released a compendium that compiles a significant body of scientific, medical and journalistic findings that highlight the experienced health risks associated with the process of Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction.

One of the most thorough reports of its kind, the compendium draws upon scientific evidence and experience from across the globe, including USA, Canada and Australia, where Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction has been most predominant, drawing upon information provided by medical journals such as The Lancet, the British Medical Journal and the Medical Journal of Australia.

Topics covered by the compendium include:

  • Air Contamination
  • Water Contamination
  • Engineering Problems
  • Radioactive releases
  • Occupational Health and Safety Hazards
  • Noise pollution, light pollution and stress
  • Earthquakes and Seismic Activity
  • Abandoned wells
  • Flood risks
  • Threats to Agriculture and soil quality
  • Threats to the Climate
  • Inaccurate job claims, increased crime
  • Inflated oil and gas reserves
  • Medical and scientific calls for more study

A compilation of studies and findings from around the globe, the compendium provides irrefutable evidence of the risks, harms, and associated negative trends demonstrated by the process of Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction, a process earmarked for County Fermanagh.

To read the compendium in full, click here.

Medical journal of australia denounces safety of fracking

On March 2014 the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) published a report entitled: “Harms unknown: health uncertainties cast doubt on the role of unconventional gas in Australia’s energy future.”

In the report the MJA warn of the scientific research already undertaken that highlights the health risks that Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction brings to communities stating:

Fears over the potential health implications of hydraulic fracturing led over 100 medical practitioners to request the Obama administration to halt the construction of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals on the basis that “[t]here is a growing body of evidence that unconventional natural gas extraction from shale … may be associated with adverse health risks through exposure to polluted air, water, and soil”. There are also environmental, social and psychological factors that have more indirect effects on health, and important social justice implications arising from the distribution of health burdens.
While there is a dearth of conclusive evidence about the health and environmental effects of fracturing, there is an emerging body of evidence on the areas of greatest potential risk and uncertainty in regards to water, air and social pathways. When taken into consideration along with concerns about the level of fugitive emissions and the potential effect on the development of renewable energy, these health concerns make unconventional gas a doubtful saviour for Australia’s energy needs.

Furthermore, MJA continue by warning that despite attempts to improve the safety of the overall process of Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction, the process itself cannot be made safe:

While the risk of well casing failure, spills and other accidents cannot be dismissed,these can be mitigated (though not removed entirely) by proper regulation and the move towards “safer” fracturing fluids. However, although any exposure would likely be to heavily diluted chemicals, the toxicological effects of some chemicals in their dilute form are not well understood. In particular, chemicals affecting the endocrine system — such as ethoxylated 4-nonylphenol, which has been used in Australian operations6 — can affect humans at extremely low quantities.

This sentiment has already been echoed by world respected medical journals the British Medical Journal, and the Lancet.

The MJA also draw attention to an all too often overlooked aspect of the process – air pollution:

Unconventional gas extraction is responsible for air pollution from diesel fumes from infrastructure development and stationary equipment, gas processing, venting and flaring. Fugitive methane emissions can catalyse development of ground level ozone and combine with PM to form smog, both of which contribute to respiratory disease, among other health effects, and damage to crops — gas- field haze is a well known effect in the US, with such pollution capable of travelling substantial distances. Shale gas extraction can also involve the flaring or venting of “associated” gases, which can become hazardous air pollutants.

The report goes further, and highlights negative social impacts that can in turn bring detriment to human health, such as the increased cost of living, high levels of alcohol and drug use, mental health issues and violence.

In a damning condemnation of the social injustices brought about by Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction, the MJA state:

Inequity can be an indirect cause of ill health, and the development of unconventional gas resources threatens to distribute health burdens in an unfair way. Most of the potential health hazards are likely to be felt by groups such as the elderly, children and the poor because of their vulnerability to the hazards involved, those living in rural, agricultural and Indigenous communities because of the location of operations, and future generations — the same groups liable to bear significant costs of climate change — while the financial benefits will accrue to the predominantly foreign owners of the resources.

Before continuing with the real life threat that climate change will bring, a problem that will be exacerbated by methane emissions:

A further health issue raised by any proposed energy source is its contribution to climate change, which has the potential to reverse gains in global health, for example by exacerbating illnesses and causing deaths through undernutrition, extreme weather conditions and disease.

In conclusion, as a result of negative implications both social and environmental the MJA warn against Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction as a means to secure energy for the future of Australia:

It is clear that Australia must quickly move beyond its reliance on coal for health and environmental reasons. However, when taking into consideration the uncertainties over health risks, the unfavourable comparisons with other energy options, the climate risks associated with fugitive emissions, the moral obligations Australia faces as a gas exporter, the potential displacement of renewables and doubts raised over the claim that gas will prove to be a cheap energy option, the scale is firmly tipped against the further development of unconventional gas.

The MJA report has added to a long list of reports which warn against the risks associated with Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction, a process which is earmarked for County Fermanagh.

Our citizens must ask themselves, in the face of mounting scientific evidence, that once the process arrives within our county’s borders, how can we expect to avoid the social, environmental and economic costs incurred, knowing that communities world wide have failed to avoid them for themselves.

If you wish to read the MJA report in full, click here.

Beginner’s guide to fracking: 6 fracking and your land

Could my land be fracked without my knowledge or permission?
Almost certainly, yes. The horizontal drill shafts can extend 1,500 meters from the well and the fractures can reach a further 600 meters. So if there is a well within that distance of your land, it’s likely that fracking will happen underneath you.

ferm farm

Would I be paid for this?
Probably not, unless the centre of the well itself is on or within a quarter mile of your land. Most oil and gas rights in Northern Ireland are owned by DETI and any royalties would go to the UK treasury. Even if you’re entitled to a share of the royalties, this is dependant upon actual gas extracted and saved through that particular well, so there’s no guarantee you would receive anything.

Can I be forced to have a well or access road built on my land?
Yes, under the Mineral Development Act, DETI has compulsory purchase and access rights (Mining Facility Orders) and it can pass the benefit of these on to the gas companies.

Would I be compensated for disturbance, subsidence, damage or the decreased value of my land?
Not automatically, no, other than any standard payment under a Mining Facilities Order. Apart from that, you would have to go to court, at great trouble and expense, to sue the gas companies. The legal position is unclear, but you would only probably succeed if you could show actual negligence and physical damage.

And if the company went bust or was wound up?
You would be unlikely to receive anything, and could be left with the responsibility and expense of decontaminating your land.

ferm2

Would I be insured against any of these risks?
It depends upon your exact situation, policy and insurance company. You would be wise to check very carefully. Standard agricultural policies do not cover fracking activities on your own land.

But hasn’t fracking been going on in the states for ages with no problems?
Not exactly. This type of high volume hydraulic fracturing has only been used for the past decade or so, and has caused severe problems for local land owners. The gas companies have been exempt from much environmental legislation (of teh kind that farmers have to abide by) and so there has been little monitoring of their activities. When a problem such as contaminated water arises, residents have very often been forced to sign gagging clauses, so they cannot go public about their experiences.

But it would be better here, wouldn’t it?
Not necessarily. We have no specific laws about fracking, so are dependant on regulations drawn up for very different operations administered by bodies which are unfamiliar with the technology, often with a lack of resources and a poor history of enforcement. Fermanagh also has a very different landscape from most of America, with our complex network of loughs, rivers and streams, our rich habitats and unique geological heritage. If Fermanagh’s landscape was to be transplanted to the United States, say many Americans, there is no way that they would frack here.

What can I do if I’m concerned about this?
Contact your political representatives, especially MLA’s and ministers, and let them know that this issue matters to you. Talk to your neighbours, family and friends and encourage them to look behind the cheerful headlines.

If we are concerned about fracking in Fermangh, we all need to speak out now and make sure our voices are heard. It may not be easy, but it will be a lot harder to live with the consequences if we do nothing.

To download this information as a printable pdf, please visit our flyers page.

Ohio fracking fire witnesses ask for greater chemical disclosure

A fire erupted last week on a frack-pad in Ohio State. The accident was finally contained after cross-county support from emergency services, who had to handle the hazardous flaming chemicals, without knowing what they were in the first place. As a result, efforts to put the fire out were hampered by the lack of available knowledge.

The Ohio Citizen reports:

The fire at the Monroe County well site on June 28 spread to 20 nearby trucks on the drilling pad, and required additional firefighters from six counties to contain it. Melissa English, development director with Ohio Citizen Action, says first responders were probably unaware of the chemicals involved in the accident because the only ones listed were ‘condensate and produced water.’

‘There were more chemicals on-site at the time of the fire, because they had started fracking by that time,’ says English. ‘They had started actually stimulating the well to produce oil and gas, which they hadn’t done at the time the hazardous chemical inventory was filed last year.’

To read the press release in full, click here.