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Welcome to No To Fracking’s new website

No To Fracking is a group of people from the North Coast of Northern Ireland, across the counties of Antrim and Derry/Londonderry, from Ballycastle to Limavady, who are concerned about the possibility of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) being used here to extract shale gas from deep underground.

Petroleum licences have been granted to two companies to explore and drill for petroleum (oil or gas) on the North Coast. They could be drilling here within 18 months.

  1. Licence PL3/10 has been granted to Rathlin Energy Ltd (a Canadian Owned company) to explore and drill in the Rathlin Basin Area (the pink area on the map below) with associated guidance notes 
  2. Licence PL5/10 has been granted to PR Singleton Ltd (owned by Providence, an irish based company), to explore and drill on Rathlin Island (the green area on the map below) with associated guidance notes 

We are worried because the evidence from areas where fracking has been used shows that it can contaminate the water table and pollute the air. Communities have had their water supplies ruined. People have become sick. Livestock and wildlife have become sick and died. Waterways and environments have been devastated. When the water table becomes contaminated it cannot be fixed. Some communities in the USA have had to have fresh water bought for them by the gas companies responsible.

We do not want to repeat this story here on Northern Ireland’s beautiful, protected, North Coast.

What is fracking?

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as ‘fracking’, is a process used to extract what are known as unconventional gas deposits. Unconventional gas is more difficult to extract than conventional natural gas. The process used is a long bore hole drilled vertically down to varying distances depending on the area, but it could be vertical for a mile and then it is drilled horizontally into the shale gas area for another mile or so.

Millions of litres of fracking fluid, that is water mixed with sand and toxic chemicals, including known carcinogens, are forced into the well under immense pressure, to fracture the rock. This releases the gas. It can also cause uncontrolled cracking in the rock layers. It can allow previously undisturbed, naturally occuring natural gas, heavy metals and radioactive materials in the rock to contaminate the water table.

The toxic fracking fluid can also migrate into the water table when it is forced down underground. Not all of the fracking fluid returns to the surface once it has done its job. The ‘produced water’, or waste fracking fluid that does return to the surface, carrying extra toxins picked up underground must be disposed of carefully.

Problems occur when:

  • the cement linings of the boreholes somehow fail, cracking or crumbling, allowing the fracking fluid, gas and other substances to escape
  • produced water / waste fracking fluid is not handled properly or disposed of safely, and leaks from its storage pond into the surrounding landscape
  • earthquakes / tremors are triggered by the fracturing process creating new cracks and other uncontrollable damage

We will be keeping you up to date on what is happening and how you can help in the campaign to prevent hydraulic fracturing in Northern Ireland.