The issues surrounding gas exploration licences in the Lough Allen Basin has been brought to the fore this week following a recent RTE Drivetime report on the issue and a documentary ‘Gaslands’ being shown in Drumshanbo this Thursday.
Two companies, The Lough Allen Natural Gas Company (Langco), and Australian-based Tamboran Resources were given onshore petroleum licences by the Department of Natural Resources earlier this year to explore the area which takes in a large part of Leitrim and Cavan and also includes parts of Sligo, Roscommon and Fermanagh.
Tamboran Resources have a licence to explore over 986 sqkm in the Lough Allen area also known as the Northwest Carboniferous Basin, while Langco have over 467 sqkm in the same area. The licence will allow the companies to undertake shallow drilling to a depth of 200m (650ft) and carry out technical studies to ascertain whether the gas, known to lie several hundred feet below the ground is commercially viable.
Although it is expected that these studies will take over two and a half years to complete before the companies will have first option from the Petroleum Affairs Division to purchase a more expensive exploration licence which would be a step closer to extracting gas, locals are getting anxious about the impact of these works on the local area.
A study which was conducted five years ago concluded that the entire Lough Allen Basin on both sides of the border has a resource potential of 9.4 trillion (million million) cubic feet, this is the equivalent in pricing terms to 1.5 billion barrels of oil, which is over nine times the size of the Corrib gas field in Mayo. It has a notional value of €94 billion at existing prices.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.