To frack or not to frack?

Despite having previously opted for a moratorium on fracking, Fermanagh District Councillors will tonight (9/1/2014) decide whether it is logistically and financially possible to hold a local referendum, which could cost £30,000.

Meanwhile a protest is on-going

The noise you hear in the video is to demonstrate what the protesters believe fracking will sound like.
sinn fein
Barry Doherty says “it would provide an opportunity for the people of Fermanagh to have their voice heard on the controversial drilling method”.
Cousin to Tom Elliott, current Fermanagh-South Tyrone MLA,
tom elliott.jpg_1024
Past County Grand Master of the Orange Order, Assistant Secretary to the Grand Lodge of Ireland and Member of the Royal Black Preceptory, is former RUC officer TUV politician Alex Elliott
Not for Photosales
He would “embrace” fracking in their hometown of Ballinamallard. “I would embrace it and say: ‘Yes, it has to be done

What is fracking?
Fracking,(hydraulic fracturing) allows cheaper drilling for gas and oil. Fluid is drilled and injected into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks and release the natural gas inside.Here’s a great visual site that illustrates the process.

http://www.dangersoffracking.com/

Here’s what the US oil industry says

And here’s what an ecologist found out

facts and figures

There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling as well as cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water.
Some other concerns:
* Unknown chemicals:Up to 600 chemicals are used in fracking fluid, including known carcinogens and toxins. Many more are unknown, because manufacturers consider their composition to be proprietary information or a trade secret.
trade secret
*Harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) from evaporating waste fluid in open air pits create contaminated air, acid rain, and ground level ozone
*Methane leakage:Wellheads have leaked gases including methane, a greenhouse gas dozens of times more potent than carbon dioxide.
*Earthquakes have been attributed to fracking,
seismograph_chart
March 2012: US Physicians for Social Responsibility adopted a position on fracking:
PSR supports a precautionary approach that includes a moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing until such time as impartial federal agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency develop and implement enforceable rules that provide adequate protection for human health and the environment from fossil fuel extraction processes that use hy draulic fracturing
Here is series of essays on the subject by these doctors

http://www.psr.org/environment-and-health/environmental-health-policy-institute/hydraulic-fracking.html .
tuv logo
Alex Elliott
Not for Photosales
doesn’t worry about the potential health impacts of fracking on his adult children or his grandchildren, stating: “The environment is there to be protected but it’s also there to be used for the benefits of the people. If that means drilling for gas, go for it.”
Fracking is “for the greater good of the county; it’s for the greater good of the country; it’s great for the UK full-stop

Australian Fracking CompanyTamboran
tamboran
said that “the proposed €7bn gas exploration project for Ireland could create 600 full time jobs, up to 2,400 indirect jobs and deliver substantial natural gas energy volumes for the next 40-50 years“.

Fermanagh land owners are alleged to have offered their fields and countryside to Tamboran.Local businesses have also sought to forge links with Tamboran in the hope of accessing shale gas.
ireland operations
Tamboran plans to build 60 six-acre frack pads in Fermanagh, spaced two-three kilometres apart, with between 12-20 well pads on each site around Big Dog Mountain and Lough Formal, in the hills between border villages Garrison and Belcoo and Derrygonnely near Lower Lough Erne,

fracking map
Comment:How might that impact on the neighbouring counties in the Republic of Ireland?

What’s the UK position?
Shale gas has the potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs. The UK government is encouraging safe and environmentally sound exploration to determine this potential. In 2012, the Royal Society concluded that “the health, safety and environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing (often termed ‘fracking’) as a means to extract shale gas can be managed effectively in the UK as long as operational best practices are implemented and enforced through regulation.”
What about Northern Ireland?
7 December 2011: Northern Ireland’s Assembly
stormont
voted for a moratorium on “fracking” pending an environmental assessment. The Minster has still failed to enact the moratorium.
paisley 4
What is the Irish position?
May 12, 2012: Minister For Energy Pat Rabbitte has reiterated that no hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for gas would take place in Ireland pending further “detailed scientific analysis and advice”.
Roscommon County Council unanimously support a BAN on fracking
Leitrim County Council voted for a moratorium on fracking
tamboran2
Clare County Council unanimously support a BAN on fracking and unanimously voted to amend the county development plan
Donegal and Sligo: BAN on fracking
16-01-2012: Sligo Borough Council supports the proposal from Clare County Council and Sligo County Council calling on the Government and the Minister for Communications, Energy and natural Resources to BAN the practice of fracking/hydraulic fracturing.
Fermanagh District Council have also voted for a moratorium on fracking.
what part no

Comment:How is the difference in UK-Irish fracking policy going to be reconciled along the Fermanagh partition line?
http://www.what-is-fracking.com/

http://keeptapwatersafe.org/global-bans-on-fracking/
http://www.impartialreporter.com/news/roundup/articles/2014/01/09/403545-councils-plan-to-hold-referendum-on-fracking-/
http://www.impartialreporter.com/news/roundup/articles/2013/12/13/403344-land-owners-offer-fields-for-fracking/
http://www.impartialreporter.com/news/roundup/articles/2014/01/09/403546-tuv-man-says-risks-worth-taking-as-he-backs-fracking-in-fermanagh/?
http://www.impartialreporter.com/news/roundup/articles/2014/01/08/403507-twitter-storm-planned-to-voice-opposition-to-fracking-/
https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/providing-regulation-and-licensing-of-energy-industries-and-infrastructure/supporting-pages/developing-shale-gas-and-oil-in-the-uk
https://www.gov.uk/oil-and-gas-onshore-exploration-and-production
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belcoo
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrison,_County_Fermanagh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derrygonnelly
http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/Your-MLAs/Register-of-Interests/29-June-2011/
http://www.tamboran.com/operations/ireland-uk/project-status/
http://www.psr.org/environment-and-health/environmental-health-policy-institute/hydraulic-fracking.html
http://www.krmg.com/news/news/local/some-worry-carbon-capturing-could-trigger-earthqua/nPZnZ/
http://ottingerlaw.com/index.php/protect-trade-secrets-new-york/
http://frackingfreeireland.org/irish-press-news-2014/irish-press/anglo-celt/
http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/locals-concerned-as-company-proposes-gas-field-fracking-538061.html

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7 thoughts on “To frack or not to frack?

  1. http://www.naturalgaseurope.com/tamboran-resources-shale-gas-exploration-ireland (January 24th, 2012)
    Tamboran’s CEO Richard Moorman

    The Luck of the Irish
    Four leaf clovers, anyone?

    He admitted that for the average man on the street, hearing about drilling for gas was like hearing about how sausage was made, that while it might initially be scary, it was a matter of getting acquainted with it
    ……
    and here is an interesting bit. It seems that the population of the North knows more than the South.

    He explained that there was more apprehension in the Republic of Ireland than in Northern Ireland, because the former did not have the background with oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

    Like

  2. Thanks for the feedback John. The CEO sounds rather patronising doesn’t he with regards to the Southern population not knowing much?
    I suppose they can read and search the internet as well as anybody else!! I’ve no idea how many Northerners worked on the North Sea oil-rigs but I doubt they were busy disseminating information on their time off at home!In any case I am trying to get an opinion from a university researcher on the subject and will try and convince him to put forward an informed view as soon as I can contact him.

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  3. Dear All,
    I am researching on Carbon Storage applied to Black Shales and therefore there are many things in common with Shale gas. I have to say that the videos are correct in terms of the environmental hazards of this technology. First of all Fracking has many uses (water production) and has been around for many decades and therefore the problem is not the process itself.
    From the costs point of view it’s an expensive process and it was just when the oil price went up that oil companies started to look at these types of rocks.
    Geologically speaking shales are radioactive and the problem of radioactivity is true also for outcrops not only for the injection fluids that come up to the surface after the fracking procedure. These fluids are a huge hazard and they have to be disposed of properly. These fluids must also be taken out once injected to reduce the risk of triggering an earthquake (they can lubricate a fault plane, if there is one).
    In terms of leakage there is under 1% of chance that a fracture can propagate over 300m considering that targets are usually many km beneath the surface, it is very low to have a direct leakage. Usually there are other barriers to prevent fluids migrating vertically.
    The main issue is the well casing integrity. Corrosion of the casing is a big issue. The main problems come from the presence old wells that were not designed for that purpose.
    In the US exploration boomed because the people had mineral rights and they saw oil and gas exploration from an economic point of viewand a chance to make some money. In Ireland it is not the same.
    The main thing to check is the geological setting of the target to see if is feasible or not and then check the environmental impact of the Shale gas exploration.
    In my view I have doubts that there is enough depth in the NW Basin (Fermanagh).
    I hope that helps

    Like

    • Thanks for your expert opinion Luca – Let’s hope there is not enough depth to proceed with fracking in Fermanagh and that our politicians pay attention to and heed everyone’s concerns

      Like

  4. Pingback: To Frack or not to Frack – an overview | Fracking Free Ireland

  5. Pingback: To Frack or Not To Frack – Scotland | the mirror@wordpress.com

  6. Pingback: Fermanagh South Tyrone and our very own Tommy Elliott | the mirror@wordpress.com

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