East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has expressed disappointment after an exploration project at Woodburn Forest failed to find any oil.
The DUP representative said he had hoped that the presence of hydrocarbons at the Carrick site would have had economic benefits for the whole region.
“Already the drilling had resulted in millions being spent in the local economy and had economically exploitable reserves been found, the economic consequences could have been substantial,” he added.
“Unfortunately the only outcome has been to demonstrate to investors the political cowardice of some political parties when it comes to standing up to the ‘green’ brigade.
“The one thing the Assembly must not do is cave to demands for even more torturous planning restrictions in an effort to close NI off from future exploration of oil and gas, be it for conventional drilling or fracking.”
Disputing claims that the ongoing presence of protestors had an impact on the decision to cease the operation, Mr Wilson said: “It was local geology which has resulted in the drilling having to be abandoned, but hopefully there are other areas in NI where future exploration will be successful.”