- The consultation is on an application for a licence to evaluate the natural gas in the shale and sandstone rocks in County Fermanagh
- The Department for the Economy has considered it as a valid application and has now put it out for consultation to seek views to inform future decision makers
- Natural gas could be worth billions to the NI economy bringing an unprecedented revenue stream and potentially creating up to 3000 direct and indirect jobs
- Local natural gas production would lower carbon emissions and provide NI with energy security for decades in the transition to a lower carbon future
Tamboran Resources (UK) Limited (TRUK) welcomes the launch of the Department for the Economy’s consultation on its petroleum licence application (PLA2/16), which includes a five-year work programme to evaluate the natural gas in the shale and sandstone rocks in County Fermanagh.
In September 2016 TRUK applied to the Minerals and Petroleum Branch of the Department for the Economy for a Petroleum Licence covering approximately 608 sq. km in south west County Fermanagh (excluding Lower Lough Erne).
This is simply the start of a discussion. If the Department decides to award the licence, all operations will be subject to strict regulatory and planning scrutiny.
If the project proceeds, we estimate that the natural gas that could be extracted from County Fermanagh could be worth in excess of £20 billion and provide Northern Ireland with a secure, cleaner and lower-carbon supply of natural gas for potentially upwards of fifty years.
Welcoming the announcement, Karl Prenderville, CEO of TRUK said:
“We believe that the natural gas resource in County Fermanagh could be a game-changer for Northern Ireland, both economically and environmentally. A local supply of natural gas would help cut carbon emissions, as we are currently importing 100% of NI’s natural gas supplies from across the world. It should also assist in reducing and stabilising local energy costs as households and businesses are currently at the mercy of world events and fluctuating international markets.
“If our estimations are confirmed, once demonstrating it can be done safely and receiving approval to proceed, this project has the potential to create thousands of jobs, locally, through a multi-billion pound investment over an anticipated 25 year period, providing long-term, secure and well-paid jobs. This will be through private investment; we will not be seeking any taxpayer funded subsidies or financial support from the Government.
“It is important to stress that the first five years are to evaluate the potential for commercial natural gas production only. We are seeking to prove the natural gas is there in the quantities we expect, that extraction will be economically viable and that it can be done in a safe and environmentally friendly way. ”
Outlining the proposed work programme, Mr Prenderville said:
“There are two stages to this five-year licence. It starts with an exploratory borehole collecting rock samples to carry out tests on the composition of the rock that contains the natural gas. This does not involve fracturing; it is a standard drilling procedure lasting only a number of weeks.
“After the rock samples are collected, we plan to assess the volume of gas present and the future commercial viability of the project. This data will help us decide whether it is worth proceeding to the next stage of the licence.
“If we decide to proceed, following regulatory approval, then we will move to part two, the test well stage. This involves test fracturing to assess the potential flow-rate and, ultimately, the overall viability of the project.
“In order to do this we first have to submit a fully comprehensive planning application and Environmental Impact Assessment. This would be subject to rigorous scrutiny from statutory experts and the public. We can only proceed if we are able to demonstrate clearly that this can be done safely and with minimal impact on the environment.”
Reaffirming the company’s commitment to the people of Fermanagh and Northern Ireland, Mr Prenderville commented:
“This has the potential to be one of the most significant economic development projects in Northern Ireland’s history. It deserves serious, rational consideration and expert analysis.
“In addition to the economic benefits, report after report by international experts and authorities clearly shows that natural gas from shale rock can be extracted safely and is a much more environmentally-friendly source of energy than all other natural fossil fuels.
“Given the need we have in Northern Ireland, especially in the west, for investment, jobs and energy security, today’s announcement will be good news to all those who support the development of the Northern Ireland economy.”
He added, “We think people have a right to know if the gas is there in the quantities we believe it is. This application is for evaluation purposes only, any application or decision about potential commercial extraction would be at least five years away and only if we prove it can be done safely. This is simply the start of a discussion.
“We remain committed to investing in Northern Ireland, supporting local communities, protecting the local environment and creating long-term, well paid jobs.”