Digging a hole with drilling and spinning
When is fracking not actually fracking?
Tamboran Resources, the Australian resources company, went to great lengths to explain that it was not fracking. Photograph: Bloomberg
When is fracking not fracking? When you are drilling to find out if fracking is possible seems to be the answer according to Tamboran Resources, the Australian resources company exploring for natural gas in the northwest.
The company went to great lengths yesterday, when announcing that it plans to drill a borehole in Belcoo, Co Fermanagh, to explain that it was not fracking.
“This will not involve any hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) and to be clear the company will never seek to ‘frack’ at this site at any point in the future. This is simply fact finding and not fracking,” it said.
The purpose of the bore hole was to collect rock samples and is a condition of its licence, it claims. Of course it does not require a degree in geology to figure out that the purpose of the borehole in Co Fermanagh is to determine if there is enough gas there and whether it can be extracted, with fracking the only viable technology on the table at the moment.
It is a measure of where the debate on fracking is in Ireland and the mountain that Tamboran will have to climb if it wants to use the technology, that even a simple borehole has to be the subject of some quite serious spinning.
Tamboran might have been coy on how it planned to get gas out of the ground but that did not stop them pointing out that should they find find gas in commercial quantities it could bring “billions of pounds of investment; hundreds and potentially thousands of jobs” not to mention decades or energy security and lower gas bills.
You have to pick your battles and Tamboran cannot be faulted for trying to postpone the fight it is sure that there is enough gas underground to make it worth the effort. But being economical with the truth can be dangerous as well.