TWO COMPANIES have been granted licences to explore an area in Lough Allen where it is thought there may be large reserves of natural gas.
The Lough Allen Natural Gas Company (Langco) and Australian-based Tamboran Resources have been given onshore petroleum licences to explore the area which takes in parts of Leitrim, Sligo, Roscommon, Cavan and Fermanagh.Langco believes there is 9.4 trillion cubic sq ft of gas or the energy equivalent of 1.5 billion barrels of oil in the area. This has a notional value of €94 billion at existing prices and could be considerably more by the time gas could be extracted from the ground.
The company’s managing director, Dr Martin Keeley, cautioned against premature expectations.
He said the only thing certain was that there was gas present as successive studies had shown. But they were a long way off from knowing whether it was worth extracting.http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...290427180.htmlLast week the department also granted London-based oil exploration company Enegi Oil an onshore petroleum licensing option for the Clare Basin, an area which covers all of Clare and part of Kerry and Limerick.
The company believes there is shale gas similar to that found in Newfoundland, Canada. Both areas were joined together hundreds of millions of years ago.
The process used to extract gas from shale is called Hydraulic Fracturing or 'fracking' and is highly controversial because of the pollution of the ground water caused in surrounding areas.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturingA 2011 study by Congressional Democrats found that, in the process of hydraulic fracturing, "oil and gas companies injected hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into wells in more than 13 states from 2005 to 2009," according to the New York Times. A 2011 investigation by the New York Times based on various leaked EPA documents found that hydraulic fracturing had resulted in significant increases of radioactive material including radium and carcinogens including benzene in major rivers and watersheds. At one site the amount of benzene discharged into the Allegheny River after treatment was 28 times accepted levels for drinking water.
A 2011 peer-reviewed study found, on average, methane concentrations 17 times above normal in samples taken from water wells near shale gas drilling sites employing hydraulic fracturing. Water samples from 68 private water wells in the states of Pennsylvania and New York were tested and some were found to have extremely high concentrations of methane: 64 milligrams of methane per liter of drinking water, compared with a normal level of one milligram or lower. According to one of the authors of the study, "That sort of concentration is up at a level where people worry about an explosion hazard."
I see that that the French parliament has just voted to ban fracking:
The overwhelming vote by the National Assembly follows months of protest across France against a technique that environmentalists say threatens to pollute the water table. Many were outraged at the beginning of the year when it was discovered that several exploration permits had been granted without public consultation. The issue has become highly political as the government prepares for a difficult presidential campaign next year.http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/907fd72c-7...#axzz1M5pUkmbh
Interesting to see how this develops in Leitrim. There was a good piece on this story by Philip Boucher Hayes on Drive Time yesterday which should be up on podcast by now.