The Irish Fracking process has begun
Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) views the latest developments where preparations for shale gas exploratory drilling has begun in Belcoo as a National, not local issue.
Dr Aedin McLoughlin, Director GEAI, expressed extreme dismay. “Make no mistake about it – any exploratory drilling, with or without hydraulic fracturing, is part of the overall fracking process,” she said. “An exploratory well without hydraulic fracturing leads to more wells with “test fracks”, leading to full fracking as shale gas is extracted. In Belcoo, the first stage is starting, with the industry bleating their mantra, “This is only drilling, it’s not fracking!” When is fracking not fracking? When the industry wants to hide what is obvious – that a good result from this first exploratory well could lead on to more wells and more wells and a full-scale fracking operation with all its environmental and social issues.”
“Another extraordinary issue,” she continued. “ I understand that the results of this well in Belcoo, County Fermanagh will be taken by the Petroleum Affairs Division in Dublin as fulfilling the work obligations for the Irish Government’s Licencing Options given to Tamboran Resources which expired in February 2013. What does this mean? It means that Tamboran, once this well is drilled and the core analysed, could apply to Dublin for a full exploratory licence and claim that they have fulfilled the conditions to enable them to get one, then proceed in Leitrim and the rest of the NorthWest, even though the well drilled was in another jurisdiction. It’s as if the opinion is – sure, there’s no difference between the geology so forget EU transborder regulations!”
GEAI wishes to put everyone on alert. “The way this operation is approached shows the contempt of the industry for the environment, for the community, even for the law of the land. No Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the overall proposal for shale gas exploration and extraction; no Planning Permission for exploratory drilling; no published plan for the safe operation of the process or disposal of wastes; no Environmental Impact Assessment, no consultation with the local community or public representatives. Ireland – this is the tip of the iceberg – if the industry can go ahead with exploration without putting all those safeguards in place, what is in store for us if fully-fledged fracking operations start?”