An English energy firm has lodged an application to carry out 'fracking' exploration in west Clare – sparking opposition from some locals.
Enegi has confirmed the lodging of the application with the Department of Communication, Energy and Natural Resources after a study it commissioned confirmed a natural gas field in west Clare with a potential resource to 3.86 trillion cubic feet of shale gas.
The study carried out for Enegi by Fugro Robertson states the recoverable resource estimates for the area to be between 1.49 trillion cubic feet and 3.86 trillion cubic feet of shale gas.
The high-grade area is south of Doonbeg and north of Kilrush in west Clare.
Roisin Ni Ghairbhith, from anti-fracking organisation Clare Fracking Concerned, said: "There is no way that fracking can take place in west Clare as it would destroy its beauty, tourism and agriculture."
Ms Ni Ghairbhith said the group would be lodging submissions with the department on the Enegi plan.
Enegi boss Alan Minty said the company needed to do further exploration work.
"We have applied to the petroleum affairs division to convert our option into an exploration licence, which will allow us to carry out this work and to further prove up the potential that we believe this acreage holds," he said.
Extraction of the shale gas will involve the controversial technique of 'fracking' and opposition to any fracking in Clare has already been voiced in the county.
UCD geology professor Pat Shannon said: "It is premature to be talking about reserves before any exploration takes place." He was "agnostic" about fracking. "It depends on where it is happening."