A public meeting regarding the proposed drilling for Shale Oil/Gas at Ballinlea will be held next Wednesday Evening, 29th April, in Ballinlea Orange Hall at 7pm.
Oil and gas company Rathlin Energy Ltd has applied to the Planning Service to drill an exploratory oil/gas well at Ballinlea in Co. Antrim, N. Ireland, into the shale layer at a depth of 2700m. Their licence area covers most of the spectacular North Coast from Ballycastle in the East, to Magilligan in the West, and south to Garvagh. They have said if successful they would like to drill 4 wells every square mile for oil.
The proposed well site is located just 7 miles from N. Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage site, the Giant’s Causeway, not far from Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other designated sites, all in the licence area. The well would be half-way between the now infamous Dark Hedges and Ballintoy Harbour on the Games of Thrones tourist trail. The route for HGVs going to and from the site is along the narrow road at the top of the Dark Hedges, which is already difficult for tourists to navigate.
The proposed site is only 75m from the nearest house and there are 43 houses within half a mile of it. Research has shown that people living within half a mile of gas wells are at an increased risk of health impacts such as respiratory disorders. It wouldn’t even be allowed in Fort Worth, Texas where the setback distance of wells from homes is 182m, or in Dallas Texas where it is 457m. There is no setback distance in Northern Ireland