Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Company behind fracking plan has never used process

The international exploration firm behind plans to carry out 'fracking' in Ireland has never used the controversial gas extraction process commercially before.

And Australian firm Tamboran Resources will have to attract a major investor or it will never begin the €7bn (£6bn) project.

It has been granted option licences, permitting it to carry out testing in counties Fermanagh, Leitrim and Cavan.

But the company only has a handful of staff scattered across three continents and doesn't yet have the €7bn funds to carry out a full-scale commercial project.

The company is a consortium employing just 18 people, mainly living in Australia, New Zealand and the US. It has yet to carry out fracking on a commercial gas field.

It will also have to attract much larger multinational exploration companies if it wants to progress its plans to drill for gas here. To do this, Tamboran will have to convince one of these major firms it has a good gas field on its hands.

Tamboran's accounts indicate that it will have to raise significant amounts of money if it wants to progress its plans in Ireland.

According to a report from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission's database, Tamboran Resources was registered in Victoria in 2009.

The company, which is not listed on the stock exchange, has a share structure of more than €30m (£25m), shared among 38 mainly Australian shareholders.

Tamboran has still not raised the €70m (£60m) it needs to enable it to expand its exploration activities.

Fracking has also been heavily criticised by environmental groups, who claim that it can lead to water contamination and illnesses in humans and animals.

Tamboran said it won't use chemicals in its fracking fluid, only water, but this has never been done successfully.

Factfile

'Fracking' — hydraulic fracturing — involves forcing up to 10 million gallons of fluid as far as 1,000m below the surface to crack open rock formations. The gas found in the shale below the rocks is then channelled back to a well on the surface. But |pollution can occur if seals break in the vertical pipeline underground, which runs through water supplies.

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