Tamboran seek injunctions against MLA’s Durkan and Foster

The Impartial Reporter have reported that Tamboran Resources plan on taking out seperate injunctions against Mr Mark Durkan MLA of the Department of Environment and Mrs. Arlene Foster MLA of the Departmant of Enterprise Trade and Investment.

Tamboran Resources’ Petroleum Licence has not been extended and the fracking company is to take a judicial review against Environment Minister Mark H Durkan’s decision on Belcoo quarry AND Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster’s decision not to extend their licence.
Tamboran Resources’ Petroleum Licence has not been extended and the fracking company is to take a judicial review against Environment Minister Mark H Durkan’s decision on Belcoo quarry AND Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster’s decision not to extend their licence.

A spokeswoman from DETI tells Impartial Reporter.com that the six month extension granted to Tamboran in March “was granted by DETI and accepted by the Company, on the basis that it would enable Tamboran to complete Part I of its work programme by September 30, including drilling of a stratigraphic (test) borehole, and to decide whether or not to proceed with carrying out Part II of the work programme within the initial five year term of the Licence (31 March 2016) or to relinquish the licence.”
She concluded: “The company has not completed Part I of its work programme and Petroleum licence PL2/10 will expire on 30 September 2014.”

A Tamboran spokesman reveals that, following the Environment Minister’s decision, the company sought a second extension from DETI to allow them to take a judicial review. DETI refused.
The spokesman states: “Tamboran Resources can confirm that it has instructed its Lawyers to judicially review the decision by the Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan announced on 11th August to reject its submission to drill an exploratory borehole under existing Permitted Development rights…..We have consulted with counsel and we are also moving to a judicial review of DETI’s decision.”

To read the article in full, click here.

License for fracking in fermanagh terminated

BELCOO QUARRY

The BBC have reported that the license previously granted to Tamboran Resources to conduct unconventional shale gas extraction has now come to an end, after DETI Minister, Ms. Arlene Foster denied renewal of their license as a result of Tamboran’s inability to uphold the current terms of their license which was renewed on the 30th of March 2014.

To read the BBC article in full, click here.

Environment Minister rejects proposals for exploratory drilling

FRACKING

The Fermanagh Herald have stated:

The Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan today rejected Tamboran’s proposals for exploratory drilling in Fermanagh under permitted development rights. The Department of the Environment received notification from Australian Mining Company Tamboran of their intention to drill a core of rock from Cleggan Quarry, Belcoo on 21 July 2014. The company sought confirmation that this work could be carried out under current permitted development rights without the need for full planning permission as part of their ongoing exploration into the viability of extracting shale gas by means of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in County Fermanagh.

Minister Durkan stated: “I have given very careful consideration to Tamboran’s proposal to drill a core of rock from Cleggan Quarry near Belcoo and whether this is permitted development under current legislation. I have concluded that this is Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) development requiring full planning permission and that permitted development rights do not apply. In making this assessment I have been mindful of my Department’s responsibility to ensure that the environment is protected at all times and that full consideration is give to any likely significant environmental impacts of such a proposal.

To read the article in full, click here.

Villers: No unnecessary damage from fracking

The Impartial Reporter have stated on the 31st July:

Not for Photosales

Theresa Villiers also said the decision on whether or not to press ahead with fracking in the county will be for Stormont and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to make, and not Prime Minister David Cameron.
Speaking to The Impartial Reporter on Monday, during a visit to Enniskillen, Ms. Villiers described fracking as “an important new technology that has delivered some significant benefits where it has been used in the United States”.

She made her comments on the day that the UK Government invited bids from energy companies for licences that would allow them to start fracking wherever resources can be found.
Ms. Villiers told this newspaper: “We think it has potential for use in the UK for helping us with energy security in keeping energy bills as low as possible. We do appreciate that if it is going to happen anywhere that careful consideration needs to be taken of its local environment impact.

To read the article in full, click here.

Fermanagh and omagh district council to adopt anti-fracking stance

FODC

The Impartial Reporter stated on the 31st July:

At a meeting last night, Fermanagh and Omagh Councillors agreed that they were opposed to fracking and called for the Assembly to return from recess to discuss the issue.
Sinn Féin Councillor for Erne West Anthony Feely raised the matter at last night’s meeting of the Shadow Council in Omagh. UUP Councillor Alec Baird and SDLP Councillor Brendan Gallagher spoke about anti-fracking sentiment in the Belcoo area which has intensified since Tamboran arrived to test drill last Monday.

To read the article in full, click here.

Constituents put pressure on Fermanagh Council to act

The Impartial Reporter stated today, the 31st July:

ERNE West Councillors came under pressure to take action against fracking when around 200 residents from Belcoo, Letterbreen and Mullaghdun met in Letterbreen Church of Ireland Hall on Tuesday night.

Three demands were made by constituents, who have become increasingly concerned about the possibility of fracking since Australian exploration company Tamboran arrived at a Belcoo quarry last Monday.
The people demanded that Fermanagh District Council:

– call an emergency meeting, putting forward a motion calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to implement a moratorium on fracking;
– fund local researchers to examine the potential health and environmental impacts of fracking; and
– set up an immediate meeting with Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.

Leitrim County Council will hold an emergency meeting on fracking today (Thursday) at 11am and Cavan County Council will hold an emergency meeting on fracking tomorrow (Friday).
In response to these demands, a spokeswoman for Fermanagh District Council tells The Impartial Reporter: “The Council has not had the opportunity yet to consider or discuss the issues raised at Tuesday night’s meeting.”

She said that “issues around fracking” will be considered at Fermanagh District Council’s full meeting on Monday night (August 4).

Clarifying Fermanagh District Council’s position on fracking, she stated: “The Council is opposed to fracking and has already called for a moratorium.”

Not for Photosales

Organised by Letterbreen and Mullaghdun Partnership (Lamp), the packed meeting heard presentations from Dr. Aedín McLoughlin of Good Energies Alliance Ireland; Eddie Mitchell, Chairman of Love Leitrim; and Tom White, who has lived in Belcoo for 10 years.

Erne West Councillors Alex Baird (UUP); Brendan Gallagher (SDLP); Martin McGovern (Sinn Féin) and Bernice Swift (Independent) were in attendance. Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan and MP Michelle Gildernew attended, as well as UUP MLA Tom Elliott.

The meeting was told that the exploratory drill is the first step towards fracking. Politicians were asked how they had allowed the process of fracking come this far. Phil Flanagan replied: “If we (Sinn Féin) recalled any of this (to the Executive), the DUP would veto it because they are mad to get fracking in West Fermanagh.”

An angry crowd responded by shouting that they were sick of politicians “batting the issue off each other”.

Councillor Martin McGovern said that fracking would “hopefully” be on the agenda at Monday night’s Council meeting, leading to uproar from the audience. He hastily clarified that fracking “would” be on the agenda.

One lady pointed out: “Leitrim County Council is having an emergency meeting about the Belcoo drill on Thursday morning. People from Leitrim, Meath, Sligo and Cavan have been protesting in Belcoo; they are putting in the support and commitment into Fermanagh so to be ready for whatever comes next.”
The crowd wanted to know why Leitrim County Council can call an emergency meeting on fracking while Fermanagh District Council cannot.

Wild cheers erupted when Tom White suggested an emergency meeting of Fermanagh District Council. He asked: “Why are we being ignored by the Executive? This is bigger than fracking; this is dysfunctional government.”

UUP Councillor Alec Baird sounded nervous as he addressed the crowd, saying: “Fracking will be discussed at next Monday night’s Council meeting but I can’t discuss the details due to confidentiality issues surrounding committee meetings. As a party [the UUP] sat down and looked at the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of fracking.”

The UUP’s policy on fracking states that “the potential economic benefits of … fracking may be substantial … However, the Ulster Unionist Party will not support fracking until an environmental impact assessment is sufficiently undertaken which shows that the practice is safe.”

UUP MLA Tom Elliott was stronger in voicing opposition, saying: “Fracking is not going to be of any benefit for the local community here. If we are to stop fracking it has to be at Executive level. The UK Government appear determined to push it through. We need to lobby UK MPs in writing to stop this push, push, push for fracking.”

SDLP Councillor Brendan Gallagher pointed out that Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan will be in Enniskillen townhall today (Thursday) to meet local residents and discuss their concerns.
One local farmer yelled: “In a week’s time they could have the drilling done; we want it stopped and we want it stopped now; if the politicians don’t do it, maybe the people will.”
Local farmer John Sheridan urged locals not to lose their temper. He said: “Have patience and do this in an academic way and go through the process,” adding: “Anything that leads to bad temper means that you are going to lose. If you stick together you can beat it.”

He called for the Council to fund local qualified researchers from the area to examine the potential health and environmental impacts of fracking. Phil Flanagan revealed that Sinn Fein wants the Council to spend the money that would have went on a fracking referendum (speculated at between £30,000 and £100,000) on funding local research.

Eddie Mitchell, from community group Love Leitrim said: “Love Leitrim will peacefully stand between the rigs and the Belcoo drill site; this can’t go ahead. The question is, will the politicians stand with us?” He added: “Meetings like this are happening all over the UK.”

The crowd was urged to lobby MLAs and MPs but warned that “there is only so much that politicians can do”.
Another public meeting will be held in Belcoo Community Centre tomorrow (Friday) evening at 7pm.

To access the full article, click here.

N.I. Minister for the environment visits enniskillen

Today, the BBC reported that Minister of the Department of the Environment, Mr Mark H. Durkin MLA, visited the town of Enniskillen, County Fermanagh to discuss topics relating to Unconventional Shale Gas Extraction within County Fermanagh.

Mark-H-Durkan

The talks were held with the Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network, Ban Fracking Fermanagh, Sinn Fein representatives Mr. Phil Flanagan MLA, Ms. Michelle Gildernew MP, Mr. Michael Colreavy TD, and SDLP Councillor Mr. Brendan Gallagher. Further to this, the meeting was attended by concerned citizens of Belcoo, where a proposed exploratory well bore is due to take place.

The BBC report:

Tamboran Resources wants to drill an exploratory borehole in a quarry near Belcoo to find out how much shale gas is in the ground.

Opponents see it as a first step that could lead to fracking.

Mr Durkan said his department would take into account people’s concerns before deciding if drilling can go ahead.

“There were a lot of suggestions today as to what and how my department should be looking at this notification or application from Tamboran,” he said.

“There are a number of environmental concerns, health concerns, economic concerns and all of these are concerns that I have listened to today and that I will certainly consider when assessing this from Tamboran.”

Thomas McCaffrey, of the Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network, said the test drill should be subject to a full planning application with an environmental impact assessment and potentially a public health impact assessment.

“We consider it to be unconventional gas exploration and extraction as one whole process and you can’t separate out the drilling of an initial exploratory borehole from the whole process of unconventional gas extraction,” he said.

“We impressed upon him the need for the public to see that their politicians are doing something to alleviate the situation, because people are out there camping and, if nothing’s done, they’re going to be there in December, because people are that passionate about it, they’re not going to leave until they’re convinced that something is being done about it.

“We want to impress upon him the public’s anger and concern that they are afraid about what is happening on their doorstep without any consultation from the company at all.”

To read the article in full, click here.

West sussex council reject exploratory shale gas license

In what is regarded as a UK first, a local county council in England have rejected an application for exploration license for shale gas.

Protest against Fracking traffic and Celtique Energie drilling rig in Fernhurst West Sussex

The Guardian report:

An application by a shale company to explore for oil and gas in a picturesque part of West Sussex has been turned down. West Sussex County Council’s planning committee refused the application by Celtique Energy for oil and gas exploration near Wisborough Green, a conservation area just outside the South Downs National Park.

The refusal, thought to be the first time a council has rejected a planning application by a shale company, was welcomed by local campaigners and environmentalists who feared that the exploration would lead to controversial fracking for oil or gas. The county council said it turned down the application because Celtique did not demonstrate the site represented the best option compared with other sites, it had unsafe highways access and would have had an adverse impact on the area.

Heidi Brunsdon, chairman of the council’s planning committee, said: “There were simply too many highways issues and other issues of concern for any decision other than refusal in this instance. We have noted the objections of the local community and I felt that the debate today was a full and robust one.”
Almost 100 people attended the meeting at County Hall North in HORSHAM to hear the debate and the decision, including actor James Bolam and his wife, actress Susan Jameson, who are local residents who fought against the scheme.

After the decision, Brenda Pollack, South East campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “This was absolutely the right decision. Nobody wants to see Sussex ruined by industrial drilling for dirty fossil fuels. If Celtique had been allowed to test for oil or gas, then there’s every chance that fracking would have followed.

“Local people would have seen their peaceful neighbourhoods shattered by the drilling and the extra lorries and other industrial traffic that comes with it. It has been CLEAR from the start that this application must be refused for a range of reasons.”

To read the article in full, click here.

The news came a day after drilling equipment arrived in Belcoo, County Fermanagh for an exploratory borehole drill, to be carried out by Tamboran Resources, an event which is rejected by local residents.

EU eyes US gas imports, citing current ukraine crisis

A two page document produced by the Council of the European Union Council Committee (EUCC) on May 27th 2014, outlines the desire of the EU to lift EU-US trade restrictions. This would allow the US to freely trade oil and gas exports across the atlantic to the European Union.

As a result of encouraging more crude oil and natural gas exports to the EU, the proposal would no doubt lead to an increase in fracking unconventional shale gas wells in the US, and would push more climate-disrupting fuels into the European Union as a whole, dealing a significant blow to efforts to avert climate change.

ULRAINE CONFLICT

The EU made no secret of its desire before in July 2013 for the right to import US shale oil and gas.

The 2014 leaked document, obtained by the Washington Post, cites the current Ukrainian crisis as a driver for the desired change in trade regulations as the EU looks to strengthen its energy security over the next few decades.

In summary, the document outlines six main points:

1) That the EU and US should continue to negotiate Energy and Raw Materials (ERM) commitments that would improve transatlantic ERM rules and thereby strengthen diversity and strength of supply, consumers and corporations. The EU propose the inclusion of a new chapter within the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that would accommodate this goal.

2) For the EU and US, TTIP would benefit from the inclusion of such a chapter for the following reasons:

a) Improving International rules.
As things stand, it is easier for the EU have to source ERM from third party countries, reducing their ability to import shale oil and gas from the US. The EUCC also state that improving international rules will permit EU-US trade for US oil and gas resources, and improve regulatory policy for corporations.

b) Geo-Political factors.
The new TTIP chapter that aims to improve ERM trade across the atlantic would signal to other nations globally that there exists a strong relationship between the EU and US. The new chapter would be required to be all inclusive, streamlined, and would benefit partners of both the EU and US (for instance EU access to ERM from Canada and Mexico who are partnered with the US.)

c) Security of Supply
Previously, the energy supply provided to the EU included imports from Russia, that travelled in through the nation of Ukraine. However in light of the Ukrainian conflict, imports from Russia have reduced, which weakens the energy supply granted to the EU. As a result, the EUCC wish to bolster the security of their energy supply with imports from the US. A new ERM chapter in TTIP, would combine EU support for regulation on one hand, while also lifting bilateral restrictions on gas and crude oil on the other.

d) Systematic Issues
Here, the EUCC points out that, to an International audience, it looks awkward when the EU and US are such close allies, yet what exists between them are rules and regulations that reduce their ability to trade ERM with one another, the result being a reduced economy for both parties.

3) The EUCC have pointed out that there has been notable lack of desire for such a chapter from the US. Furtherstil, the EU still waiting for a clear signal of desire from the US on the matter.

4) The US has shown lack of effort for implementing legally binding rules which can lift trans atlantic trade restrictions for oil and gas to the EU. As a result, the EU proposes to produce a legally binding commitment in the TTIP guaranteeing the free export of crude oil and gas resources that fast-tracks licenses for exports to the EU. These licenses would be granted automatically and expeditiously in such a manner that does not require effort by the US, making no change to their existing legislation.

5) The EUCC propose that new rules should accommodate both existing existing EU and US legislation in order to increase the ease of the process of trading ERM transatlantically

6) In conclusion, the EU ask for teh US to signal their support for a new chapter in TTIP that would encourage and facilitate ERM trade of oil and gas from thE US, to the EU. This would build upon political support recently expressed by the U.S. Administration.

To read the leaked energy paper in full, click here.