Apr 12, 2011

Tamboran, an Australian mining company and The Loch Allen Gas Company were granted licenses to explore the ‘North West carboniferous Basin’ for natural gas. This area covers 8,000 sq km over parts of Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon and Sligo. Most of the townlands in the parish of Drumlane are listed in this exploration license. If considered to be economically viable these companies will then apply for a licence to ‘extract’ the gas. This will be carried out by hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’


Fracking is a mining process where water, chemicals and sand are blasted at high pressure into shale rock deep underground. Initally the well is sunk vertically until it hits the layer of shale then it moves out horizontally along this layer. The pressure build up fractures the rock and allows the methane gas trapped in fissures in the rock to be released.


The wells through which the water and chemicals are pumped are situated on ‘pads’. Each concrete pad can be up to 9 acres in size and have 16 wells on it. It will also have a 60ft tower, 4 waste water tanks (40 X 40 X 15 ft) and 2 rainwater pits (the size of soccer fields) situated on it. These pads can be every 1.5 to 2 kms apart.


There are a number of environmental concerns associated with this process.


¢‚¬¢ Contamination of underground water by methane gas.

¢‚¬¢ Contamination of underground water by chemicals used in fracking fluid. Over the lifetime of a well up to 100,000 gallons of chemical additives may be used. Some of the chemicals used are known carcinogens and toxins such as benzene (cancer, bone marrow failure), lead (nervous system and brain disorders), ethyl glycol (anti freeze – causes death), methanol (highly toxic) and boric acid (kidney damage, death).

¢‚¬¢ Contamination of underground water by radioactive materials released from the rocks during the fracturing process.

¢‚¬¢ Contamination of above ground water sources, lakes and rivers. Up to 600,000 gallons of water (where will this come from?) may be injected with each ‘frack’. Most of this water comes back to the surface to be stored in evaporation ponds. This water will also contain fracking chemicals salt and other material released from the rocks. If these ponds overflow – which would be likely in view of all the rain we get in Cavan, the overflow will spill into our lakes and rivers.

¢‚¬¢ Eartquakes have been reported in areas where fracking is taking place. Recently in Lancashire (UK) operations were suspended after 2 small eartquakes occurred subsequent to drilling operations. They have also been documented in the United States, Japan and Canada.

¢‚¬¢ Greenhouse Gas emmissions. Although touted as a cleaner fuel, during the fracking process it has been estimated that 3.6 – 7.9% of methane escapes from the well into the atmosphere so that over a timescale of 50 years shale gas is actually worse than coal or oil.

¢‚¬¢ Huge increases in heavy traffic when the gas is being extracted on a 24/7 basis. This will require massive road building and widening schemes


While Tamboran claims that 700 jobs will be created over 50 years potentially many more will be lost from tourism and farming which have been the mainstay of our community for a much longer period of time.


Fracking has been banned in France after the film ‘Gaslands’ was aired on TV. There are also moratoriums on it in NSW – Australia and the Karoo region – Sth Africia. It has been suspended in Quebec pending a review and in Lancashire UK.

What can you do?


Be aware of this issue and become informed about it.


Tell your neighbours and friends about it.


Alert your farming and community organizations about it


Don’t sign anything without legal advice


Sign an on line petition at


Express yor views to local politicians


Write to RTE requesting that they show the film ‘Gaslands’ by Josh Fox


Join No Fracking Cavan on Facebook





April 2011
Drumlane Community Website, Cavan, Ireland