Belfast Telegraph

Anti-fracking protesters picket councillors in Coleraine

By David Young

Protesters alarmed at the prospect of possible fracking for oil on the North Coast have gathered outside Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council in Coleraine.

The demonstrators targeted the council as a meeting was being held inside last night.

The protest came after Rathlin Energy confirmed that it intends to drill a second exploratory borehole at Ballinlea near Ballycastle.

Local residents are concerned about the about the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing possibly being used on the site.

Earlier a company spokesman sought to allay fears.

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He said: "Rathlin Energy is still hoping to be able to extract any oil and gas it finds by a conventional drilling process. If for some reason that proves impossible, the company may in future consider hydraulic fracturing, but that's a very, very long way off. Anything the company does will be subject to strict planning regulations."

The Canadian-owned energy company has held the licence for oil and gas exploration in the North West since 2008.

During their initial explorations they found a small amount of oil.

Rathlin Energy has now completed further geological surveys and is in the process of finalising the location of their second exploration site.

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