Oil exploration firm outlines plans for Woodburn Forest

The company proposing to drill a petroleum exploration well at Woodburn has again stated its plans do not involve ‘fracking’.

InfraStrata plc was awarded a petroleum exploration licence by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in 2011. The area covers the Larne - Lough Neagh region of County Antrim.

Over the past two years, the petroleum exploration and gas storage firm has obtained and processed 400km of new seismic data which has provided an insight into the geology of the area. Interpretation of this has identified a number of geological structures which may have trapped oil and gas in the sub-surface.

Dr Andrew Hindle, InfraStrata CEO, said: “A site at Woodburn Forest, two miles northwest of Carrickfergus, has been carefully selected to minimise the impact on neighbours while being suitable to reach the subsurface target area which is 6,500 feet below the forest. The well will provide new data to improve the understanding of the deep geology of County Antrim below the basalts.

“The planned exploration activity – and any subsequent approved development – would be undertaken by conventional methods exploring for oil and gas in porous sandstone reservoirs and would not involve hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘fracking’.”

The company confirmed that drilling of the well was planned for this coming winter. Should oil or gas be present it would require planning permission to be able to flow or export any oil or gas from the site.

Dr Hindle added: “If oil or gas is encountered and successfully developed in County Antrim - following the relevant approvals - it would have a positive impact on local and national industry, with local job creation and other economic benefits.”

The firm added that an information event on its plans will be held in advance of any site construction work.