Rathlin Energy planning application expected any day now

Rathlin Energy Ltd – the company that will not rule out fracking on our beautiful north coast – is to seek planning permission this month to drill a second well at Ballinlea, Co. Antrim.

Local people, particularly those opposed to unconventional oil and gas extraction and fracking in the area, are waiting with interest to see the contents of the planning application, to learn more about:

  • exactly what type of petroleum product the company is planning to extract, and from what type of rock or geological formation
  • exactly what type of drilling the company is planning to use
  • the duration of the operation
  • what equipment and products they are planning to use
  • what chemicals will be used, and in what quantities
  • how they are planning to manage the toxic waste products from the drilling (i.e. where do they plan to put it?)
  • how much and what type of additional traffic will be generated and for how long
  • what environmental and health impact assessments they have done
  • what baseline water, soil and air quality data they have collected
  • what water, soil and air quality monitoring they have planned
  • what pollutant-monitoring information will be available to the public
  • what steps would be taken by the company to address any damage or contamination caused by its operations (noting that some types of contamination cannot be fixed)
  • the extent of the company’s responsibility for addressing damage and contamination caused by its operations (noting that regular domestic and farming insurance companies will not cover contamination and damage caused by some oil and gas exploration and extraction activities)
  • whether they will seek to use hydraulic fracturing (fracking) as soon as they have drilled the well. 

Anyone approached by an oil/gas exploration company seeking to lease their land for any kind of oil or gas exploration/extraction should consider the advice and issues raised in the following guide from Harvard law school before signing: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/environmentallawprogram/files/2013/01/elpc-ohio-leasing-guide-v2-june-2011-web.pdf

Anyone who has signed an agreement/lease with an oil/gas company may wish to seek legal advice on their options for making variations or amendments to their contract in light of this guidance.

Did you know that…

… the original licences (click CE1-04 and CE2-04) under which the well was drilled at Ballinlea, Co.Antrim, in 2008, were specifically for the exploration of commercial Coalbed Methane and Shale Gas potential in the Rathlin Basin? The licences were held originally by Rathlin Energy Ltd’s Canadian owner, Connaught Energy Ltd, and were transferred to Rathlin Energy Ltd in 2007.

“This Licence CE1/04 and licence CE2/04 form part of a single integrated exploration programme over the Rathlin Basin. The core elements of this programme are:

  • the development of a hydrocarbon system for the basin,
  • the drilling of one shallow well to provide core, from the Ballycastle Carboniferous coal and organic-rich shale section, that will be analysed for CBM [Coalbed Methane] potential,
  • the drilling of one exploration well, in the Rathlin Basin, to evaluate the Carboniferous section for commercial coalbed methane and gas shale potential,
  • the evaluation of the results from the above to produce a final prospectivity assessment of the licence areas.”

They can only extract this gas, for commercial production, by fracking.

Q. “Wish you were here?”

A. “Only if it stays frack-free!”    Stop shale gas exploration.

POST OR EMAIL SOME STUNNING POSTCARDS OF THE NORTH COAST, CAUSEWAY, GLENS AND RATHLIN TO MLAs, MEDIA, AND ANYONE ELSE YOU LIKE!

DRAW ATTENTION TO OUR NATURAL BEAUTY AND DON’T LET IT BE FRACKED.

Join the grassroots postcard campaign being run across the country – check out the facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/271732176266794/

You can copy this e-postcard, and those below, into an email and send them to the addresses further down, with a simple message: “Stop shale gas exploration in Northern Ireland” or “Ban fracking in Northern Ireland”.

We are sending holiday postcards (POST OR EMAIL) of Northern Ireland with its pristine NATURAL environment to our Ministers with a simple message: save our country, ban fracking in Northern-Ireland. You can send postcards to Arlene Foster, Peter Robinson, Martin McGuinness, Alex Attwood, Michelle O’Neill, Edwin Poots….they should all clearly state “Stop Shale gas exploration in Northern-Ireland”. Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network are doing this and it would be great if everyone could join them, sending postcards from Fermanagh and the North Coast – the more the merrier.  Thanks for all your continued efforts.

Mr Alex Attwood.
Room 325
Parliament Buildings
Ballymiscaw
Stormont
Belfast
BT4 3XX

Mrs A Foster Room 339 (same address as above) arelene@arelenefoster.org.uk

Mrs M O’Neill Room 339
michelle.oneill@dstbc.org

Mr M Mc Guiness Room 317

Mr E Poots Room 350

Mr P Robinson
96 Belmony Ave
Strandtown
Belfast
BT4 3DE

arlene@arlenefoster.org.uk,
peter.robinson@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
Martin.McGuinness@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
Private.Office@doeni.gov.uk,
private.office@dhsspsni.gov.uk,

private.office@dardni.gov.uk,
tom.elliott@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
phil.flanagan@sinnfein.ie,
sean.lynch@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
maurice.morrow@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
gerry.adams@oir.ie,
info@alasdairmcdonnell.com,
alliance@allianceparty.org,
steven.agnew@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
info@jimallister.org,
gordon.dunne@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
stephen.moutray@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
paul.frew@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
robin.newton@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
daithi.mckay@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
sue.ramsey@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
alban.maginness@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
mike.nesbitt@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
martina.anderson@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
sydney.anderson@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
roy.beggs@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
jonathan.bell@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
cathal.boylan@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
michaela.boyle@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
dominic.bradley@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
paula.bradley@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
mickey.brady@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
thomas.buchanan@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
joe.byrne@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
gregory.campbell@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
trevor.clarke@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
willie.clarke@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
judith.cochrane@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
michael.copeland@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
jonathan.craig@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
leslie.cree@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
john.dallat@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
stewart.dickson@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
jo-anne.dobson@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
pat.doherty@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
sammy.douglas@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
markh.durkan@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
alex.easton@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
colum.eastwood@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
stephen.farry@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
samuel.gardiner@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
paul.girvan@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
brenda.hale@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
simon.hamilton@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
williamhaydup@btconnect.com,
david.hilditch@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
william.humphrey@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
ross.hussey@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
william.irwin@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
dolores.kelly@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
gerry.kelly@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
danny.kennedy@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
danny.kinahan@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
pam.lewis@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
anna.lo@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
trevor.lunn@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
chris.lyttle@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
alex.maskey@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
paul.maskey@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
john.mccallister@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
fra.mccann@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
jennifer.mccann@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
kieran.mccarthy@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
raymond.mccartney@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
nelson.mccausland@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
david.mcclarty@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
basil.mccrea@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
ian.mccrea@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
conall.mcdevitt@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
barry.mcelduff@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
michael.mcgimpsey@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
patsy.mcglone@sdlp.ie,
david.mcilveen@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
michelle.mcilveen@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
karen.mckevitt@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
Mitchel.McLaughlin@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
oliver.mcmullan@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
david.mcnarry@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
adrian.mcquillan@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
francie.molloy@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
conor.murphy@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
caral.nichuilin@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
john.odowd@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
cathal.ohoisin@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
sandra.overend@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
pat.ramsey@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
margaret.ritchie@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
george.robinson@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
alastair.ross@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
caitriona.ruane@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
pat.sheehan@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
jimmyspratt@dup.org.uk,
mervyn.storey@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
robin.swann@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
peter.weir@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
jim.wells@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
sammy.wilson@mla.niassembly.gov.uk,
thomas.oreilly@fermanagh.gov.uk,
gildernewm@parliament.uk,
diane.dodds@europarl.europa.eu,
bairbre.debrun@europarl.europa.eu,
james.nicholson@europarl.europa.eu,
editorial@impartialreporter.com,
m.kennedy@fermanaghherald.com,
writeback@belfasttelegraph.co.uk,
newsdesk@irishnews.com,
newsdesk@newsletter.co.uk

Rathlin Energy’s Community consultation – tick

There was a great show of community opposition at yesterday’s Rathlin Energy meeting.

At least 50 people turned up to show their opposition to Rathlin Energy’s operations, especially the possibility of fracking. Most people there felt that the smooth-talking Rathlin Energy Executives were simply engaging in a tick-box community consultation exercise.

If the company really cared what local people thought they would pack up and go home!

But it looks like they are proposing to go ahead with their testing, plans to drill a new well, and ultimately fracking. They didn’t tell people anything they didn’t already know. It took a lot of questionning before they admitted that they could use fracking. They looked very uncomfortable when asked difficult and detailed questions about the processes they would use and how they would handle risks. Different executives provided different answers.

Great outcomes from this Rathlin Energy meeting are that more local people are now much more aware of the risks of fracking, and wanting to take action against it. This is great news! Well done to those who are leading this campaign!

Urgent! Meeting Thurs 7th June 4-8pm

Rathlin Energy Ltd, the Canadian-owned company with the exploratory petroleum licence for the North Coast area, is holding a meeting with the public, at the Ballinlea drill hole, on the Ballinlea Road, outside Ballycastle on Thursday, 7th June from 4-8pm.

Only people within a limited radius have been invited to the meeting – even though what the company has to say will be of interest to people from all along the North Coast. Anyone who is interested in what the company has to say should go along to find out what is planned for the North Coast.

This is a great opportunity for local people to put questions to the company about their intentions:   Do they intend to undertake fracking in the area? What exactly are they planning to drill for (oil/natural gas)? How exactly do they intend to extract it? Do they plan to use fracking in a vertical well, or a vertical well with horizontals coming off it, or multiple vertical and horizontal wells? How deep would the vertical well/s be? How long would the horizontals be? If they plan to use fracking, what method of fracking would they intend to use? What chemicals? How much water? Where would they get the water? Where and how would they store the water….before and after fracking? How would they control toxicity? How would they prevent cracks and leakage over time in the concrete casing of the boreholes? How would they prevent transport and storage facilities from having spillages? How would they prevent hazardous, radioactive, toxic chemicals from getting into the groundwater and local water wells and streams? How do they plan to contain the radon, a known carcinogen which is already contained within rock along the North Coast at worryingly high levels, and prevent it from getting into groundwater, crops, livestock, and people?

Harvard Law School has produced great advice for landowners being approached by oil/gas companies who might be undertaking hydraulic fracturing/fracking – see the following link (and please note that this Harvard document states: “Keep  in  mind,  however,  that  a lease cannot prevent harm; it only gives you legal rights in case  things  go  wrong.    Even  the  best  companies  can  have accidents.  It is impossible to eliminate all risk.”)

http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/environmentallawprogram/files/2013/01/elpc-ohio-leasing-guide-v2-june-2011-web.pdf

Here is the link to the Ballinlea drill site via google maps – so you know where to go for the meeting on Thursday: http://goo.gl/maps/PwGy

And so it begins…


Aerial survey of coastal area to take place next week

An easily recognisable fixed wing aircraft is set to fly over Limavady, Coleraine, Moyle and Ballymoney  during week commencing 20th February 2012 collecting data on underground rocks and minerals.

The airborne survey managed by Rathlin Energy Limited, will be collecting scientific data across the north coast area – from Limavady to Moyle – during two days of flying.

It is hoped that the information gathered will help provide understanding of natural resources and inform potential commercial investment plans in the North West.

Weather permitting, the twin engine survey aircraft will take off from Enniskillen Airport and fly in straight parallel lines across the region using specialist instruments to collect data on the gravity and magnetic properties of the earth.

The instrument is entirely passive, it emits no signals and there are no harmful gases or liquids contained within.

Tom Selkirk, from Rathlin Energy Limited said:

“This project is part of Rathlin’s ongoing exploration effort and is designed to help us develop a better understanding of the structure of the onshore portion of the Rathlin Basin. The data will be integrated with other existing datasets, including the TELLUS aeromag data to help increase our level of confidence in our subsurface mapping.

“Our expert pilots, flying with approval and authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority, will be at an approximate height of 80 metres over rural countryside and at 100 metres across urban areas – that’s six times higher than a two storey house.

“Rathlin Energy is engaging with interested parties, including farming and business communities, to inform them of the project’s developments.”

An extensive awareness-raising campaign involving schools, farming and equine organisations and other relevant parties is currently underway.

The aircraft being used in the survey is a white twin-engine Douglas DC-3 with a distinctive blue stripe and will fly:

  • in daylight hours
  • mostly in an east and west line orientation
  • along lines spaced 500m apart at a speed of approximately 130mph, with a noise similar to that of a passing lorry
  • over some border areas in Donegal

Anyone requiring further detail about the project can contact the Rathlin Energy hotline on 028 9034 7319.

For media enquiries please contact Stephen McGrath at Weber Shandwick on 028 9034 7300 / 079 8947 5561

 

PR for Rathlin Energy Ltd

Rathlin Energy Ltd are now using PR firm Weber Shandwick. This is the same PR firm used by Tamboran (the company wanting to use fracking in Fermanagh and Leitrim). Weber Shandwick has previously undertaken work to help:

  • the Chinese government in ‘separating its human-rights record from its Olympics bid’
  • the ExxonMobil corporation with ‘greening’ itself
  • British Nuclear Fuels with their image problems
  • British American Tobacco with their image problems, and
  • The Japanese Whaling Association with their image problems.