Protesters vow to fight against fracking

An action group has warned a British energy firm the fracking of a natural gas field in Clare will not proceed — “not now, not ever”.

Róisín Ní Gháirbhith of Clare Fracking Concerned said: “What Enegi Oil need to realise is locals value their health, water, environment and, most of, all their children a lot more than any short term jobs or financial gains.”

London-based Enegi plans to apply within weeks for an exploration licence.

But Ms Ní Gháirbhith emphasised: “We strongly encourage Enegi to stop wasting its time and energy investigating the possibility of carrying out fracking in our county.

“Not now, not ever will this highly controversial, destructive method of extracting gas be allowed by the people.”

A study by Enegi showed up to 3.86 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in the site, south of Doonbeg and north of Kilrush. Enegi says preliminary economic analysis confirms the viability of the proposed project.

But the company noted preliminary findings indicate that “given the maturity, thickness and buried depth of the shale, the whole area under the option remains prospective for shale gas”.

The extraction will involve the controversial technique of “fracking”. The company confirmed that it has lodged a report with the Petroleum Affairs Division of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

Its chief executive Alan Minty said: “Clare basin is a highly prospective project and we are delighted to be involved at this early stage.

“Our findings and the report from Fugro have further endorsed management’s belief that the Clare basin has a strong best case investment profile. The whole acreage appears to be very prospective and we are particularly excited by the area at the centre of the existing seismic grid which we have defined as high grade.”

Last Friday was the deadline for the lodging of the reports and a spokeswoman for the department confirmed it also received a report from Tamboran on its license option. Earlier this year, Tamboran confirmed potential of 2.2 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in north Co Leitrim.

A spokeswoman for the department said: “The companies have until end February 2013 to submit applications for follow-on exploration licences or relinquish their acreage.

“It is worth noting that the use of hydraulic fracturing will not be authorised until there has been time to consider the second stage of the EPA research on the environmental implications of hydraulic fracturing.”

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