Wednesday 1 March 2017

Australian explorer bids to invest €7bn in Leitrim gas field

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

THE good times could be coming to Leitrim after an Australian explorer said it wants to invest €7bn in a natural gas field it says it has found there.

Tamboran Resources said a feasibility study confirmed a "substantial shale gas field" in Leitrim which could create 600 full-time jobs and up to 2,400 indirect jobs if it is developed.

Tamboran said it hoped to spend €7bn developing the field, which could deliver "substantial" natural gas volumes for the next 40 years. The full analysis will be published by the end of this year.

Tamboran is focused on the northern area of Leitrim and it has also been granted an exploration licence in an adjacent area in south-west Fermanagh.

According to the company, the field potentially has 2.2 trillion cubic feet of shale gas; which could lead to tax revenues of up to €4.9bn.

Company chief executive Richard Moorman said the project could be "a potential energy and economic game changer for Ireland".

"Realising these resources would secure gas supply for decades, protect consumers and businesses from market uncertainty and negate the risk of being over-dependent on unpredictable external supplies," he claimed.

Natural gas from shale has become popular in North America, but there have also been concerns expressed about the method used to extract the gas.

Gas is extracted from shale using a technique known as "fracking", which sees water, sand and chemicals injected into the rock at high pressures to release the gas.

That technique has led to concerns about the contamination of the local water supply, among other issues. Yesterday, however, Tamboran said it wouldn't use chemicals in Ireland.

Subject to licensing, Tamboran believes exploration drilling could commence by 2014 with the commercial development "a few years later".

Irish Independent

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