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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 17 April, 2014

Natural gas field in west Clare confirmed as prospective fracking site

UK-based company Enegi will now apply to the government for an exploration license before the end of February next year.

File photo of workers in the US working on a drilling platform that uses the process of fracking.
File photo of workers in the US working on a drilling platform that uses the process of fracking.
Image: Ed Andrieski/AP/

A STUDY BY UK based oil and gas exploration company Enegi has confirmed that a natural gas field in west Clare is a prospective site for shale gas with a potential 3.86 trillion cubic feet of shale gas.

The company was awarded a 100 per cent interest in an onshore licensing option covering an area of 495 square kilometres but as a condition it was required to undertake a work programme on areas of interest within the Clare Basin.

In a statement yesterday Enegi said that the results showed that “given the maturity, thickness and buried depth of the shale, the whole area under the option remains prospective for shale gas”.

The studies also highlighted an area within an existing seismic grid containing particularly a high grade, based on “the thickness of the shale and lack of faulting present”.

The company will now apply to the minister for an exploration license for the areas covered by the option before the end of February next year.

Extraction of the shale gas on the onshore site would involve fracking, a highly controversial technique whereby gas is extracted from pockets in the ground by pumping water and chemicals underground at high pressure to break the rocks and release the natural gas.

Opponents of the technique say the process could significantly impact on farming, tourism and groundwater supplies and a number of county councils across the country have already moved to ban fracking in their areas.

Of the estimated 3.86 trillion cubic feet of shale gas, the company said 526.4 billion cubic feet falls within the high grade area.

Commenting on the results of the report, CEO of Enegi Alan Minty said the findings have “endorsed management’s belief that the Clare Basin has a strong best case investment profile”.

“While these results are very encouraging, further exploration work is required to identify specific areas of prospectivity and potential future drilling targets,” he added.

Related: Oireachtas committee to visit Leitrim to discuss fracking>

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