Exploratory Oil and Gas Drilling


Ballinlea Residents Group are a single issue, cross-community collective of local people who have come together because we want to protect our clean water, clean air and productive farmland and preserve them for future generations.  We are trying to raise awareness of the imminent threat of oil and gas extraction destroying our beautiful North Coast.

We’ve become familiar with the sight of concerned individuals protesting at Balcombe in West Sussex at the site of an exploratory oil/gas well.  The same scenario will unfold within the next few months near Ballycastle, Co. Antrim on our own North Coast. A similar application for an exploratory well has been made and it is anticipated that this may be  a prelude to fracking in the future.  The energy company themselves, Rathlin Energy Ltd,  have said that, depending on the outcome of the exploratory stage, they will be seeking to use the fracking method. The exploratory well itself will be drilled down to the level of shale gas (only accessible by the process of fracking).

The DOE are currently consulting on  the planning application, E/2013/0093/F, submitted by Canadian oil company Rathlin Energy Ltd for exploratory oil and gas drilling in the Ballinlea area, near Ballycastle, Co. Antrim.  The Ballinlea Residents Group was formed to object to this activity and to raise public awareness of the matter. The Group are fully aware that this initial exploratory drilling application is not for fracking and will use conventional techniques to explore the oil/ gas potential, but research has informed us that the same environmental and public health concerns are just as relevant  to conventional drilling.  It will result in the same chemicals and same carcinogens being released into our environment.

We are seriously concerned at the potential industrial scale of this project which could establish conventional commercial oil wells across the North Coast at a density of four wells per square mile or four per square kilometre if fracking is employed.  Rathlin Energy Ltd have a license from DETI to drill all across the “Rathlin Basin” which stretches from Ballycastle all the way to Magilligan and inland as far as Garvagh.

You can get involved in objecting to this planning application by writing to :

Minerals Development, Management & Compliance
DOE: Planning and Local Government
Strategic Planning Division
2nd Floor Millennium House,
17 – 25 Great Victoria Street,
Malone Lower,

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