Councillors alarmed over change to fracking policy

THE COUNCIL has suspended its draft local development consultation, with immediate effect, after it emerged a section intended to strongly oppose local fracking had been changed without councillors’ knowledge or consent.
Enquiries are currently underway as to how the careful wording that had previously been agreed unanimously by the elected representatives was changed in the strategy document, which had been out for public consultation.

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Anti-fracking campaigner says communities needs protection following Department’s research request

A leading anti-fracking campaigner has called the Department for the Economy’s research into the impacts of oil and gas production as a last “hurrah” for the industry. 

Tom White has also said that the communities of Fermanagh still need protection against fracking. The Department is seeking to procure research into the economic, societal and environmental impacts of future onshore petroleum exploration and production, including Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG), in Northern Ireland, including fracking.

“Many in Fermanagh thought the spectre of ‘fracking’ had long since disappeared but it seems to me that we’re preparing the way for one last ‘hurrah’ for this industry,” said Tom White of Belcoo Frack Free.

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Funding in fracking firm Cuadrilla to be slashed – forecast

A major cut in investment in the shale gas company, Cuadrilla, is likely in the coming months, its owner has predicted.

The Australian mining group, AJ Lucas, forecast investment in Cuadrilla would be reduced by 90% in the financial year to June 2021, compared with the previous 12 months.

The AJ Lucas annual report, published on 28 August 2020, blamed the UK government moratorium on fracking in England, imposed 10 months ago.

As a result of the moratorium, the report said Cuadrilla had “scaled back” its shale exploration operations in the UK”. Operating costs and overheads had been “very significantly reduced”, it said.

Cuadrilla’s funding requirement has been significantly reduced, largely as a result of reduced staffing and operations. Cuadrilla will engage in limited analysis of prospective areas of its licences, in preparation for activity when the moratorium is lifted.

“A small team currently operates in the UK, maintaining Cuadrilla’s UK licences and statutory obligations.”

Fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in Lancashire was suspended by regulators a year ago, on August bank holiday Monday 2019. The company’s operations caused the UK’s strongest fracking-induced earthquake, measuring 2.9ML.

By then, Cuadrilla had fracked just seven of the more than 40 planned stages of the PNR2 well, the second of four planned horizontal boreholes at the site.

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Department for the Economy seeking research into impacts of oil and gas production.

The Department for the Economy is seeking to procure research into the economic, societal and environmental impacts of future onshore petroleum exploration and production, including Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG), in Northern Ireland, including fracking.

The £75,000 worth of research will analyse relevant contemporary qualitative and quantitative information and research across economic, social and environmental issues with focus on the interaction between these factors in determining the viability of onshore petroleum and, separately, UOG development.

Policy makers will use the research to formulate evidence based policy options and provide Ministers with the information required to make fully informed decisions about future petroleum development.The potential for UOG in Northern Ireland is greatest in the parts of Fermanagh that constitute the Lough Allen Basin.

In May 2019, Tamboran Resources (UK) submitted a petroleum licence application which could eventually lead to fracking and which covered an area of 608 square kilometres.

Continue reading Department for the Economy seeking research into impacts of oil and gas production.