Tamboran Resources and Enegi Oil apply for fracking exploration licences
Two companies have applied for exploration licences which could lead to the controversial process of fracking.
Tamboran Resources is seeking exploration licences to continue looking for natural gas in north Leitrim, while Enegi Oil has applied for a similar licence in the Clare Basin.
The initial onshore licences which only allowed for initial studies were granted two years ago and will expire tomorrow. Both companies had to apply for an exploration licence to continue their operations.
Exploration licences involve commitments to drill an exploration well, or wells.
A separate drilling permit is required before drilling is allowed.
In advance of any drilling, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would have to be conducted and that EIA would include a public consultation phase.
In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is carrying out its own study into fracking and it may be years before commercial drilling is allowed to take place, if at all.
Nevertheless, both companies have expressed satisfaction at the findings of their initial studies of both areas.
Tamboran estimates that 4.4 trillion cubic feet of gas could be under the ground in an area centred on south Fermanagh and north Leitrim, although independent estimates suggest the figure is closer to 3.2 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Enegi Oil says its initial findings suggest there may be between 1.49 trillion cubic feet and 3.86 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.