Site 'to produce gas for 50 years'
Up to 50 years worth of daily consumption of natural gas in Northern Ireland could be produced from a substantial field in Co Fermanagh, according to the energy company behind the project.
The site, in the south west of the county, would ensure security of supply for decades and a later reduction of imports, said Tamboran Resources.
The company has been exploring the shale gas area near the border with Co Leitrim since last year. It faces fierce opposition from environmentalists.
Chief executive Richard Moorman said: "Our initial analysis suggests very substantial shale gas reserves in the south-west Fermanagh area. Allowing for even modest rates of recovery, the energy and economic benefits would be tremendous."
In south-west Fermanagh there is believed to be up to 50 years of the present daily gas consumption of Northern Ireland.
Mr Moorman added: "Realising these reserves would secure gas supply for decades, protect consumers and businesses from market uncertainty and negate the risks associated with being over dependent on unpredictable external supplies.
"County Fermanagh would be able to attract additional businesses that would benefit directly from a secure local natural gas supply."
The Australian mining company proposes a £6 billion gas investment which could create 600 full time jobs. It is a controversial process known as fracking and involves hydraulic fracturing of the rock.
Northern Ireland's Assembly last month voted for a moratorium on fracking, which has been opposed by the Green Party which claims it causes well blow-outs, endangering workers and local committees.
Tamboran has promised not to use chemicals, the first time such a technique has been attempted.