Shale Gas
Shale Gas in Ireland

At present there is no shale gas or unconventional gas exploration and extraction (UGEE) project/operation underway that has reached either the exploratory or commercial drilling stage.

In  Ireland, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) announced in February 2011 that it was offering Onshore Petroleum Licensing Options to:
(i) Tamboran Resources PTY Ltd over 986 km2 in the Northwest Carboniferous Basin;
(ii) Lough Allen Natural Gas Company Ltd over 467 km2 in the Northwest Carboniferous Basin; and
(iii) Enegi Oil Plc over 495 km2 in the Clare Basin.

These ‘options’ were valid for a period of up to a maximum of 24 months and gave the holder the first right, exercisable at any time during the period of the Option, to an Exploration Licence over all or part of the area covered by the Option. The licensing options awarded were preliminary authorisations and were designed to allow the companies assess the shale gas potential of the acreage largely based on desktop studies of existing data. Exploration drilling, including drilling that would involve hydraulic fracturing, was not allowed under these Licensing Options. Two of the three companies, which had been granted on-shore licensing options in February 2011, have submitted applications for a follow-on exploration licence. DCENR initially evaluated these applications, focussing on the technical rationale underpinning the applications, along with the corporate information provided. Where the outcome of this stage of the evaluation is positive, further consideration of the application will then be put on hold until after the findings of the EPA/DCENR/NIEA Research Programme have been published. It is not proposed to consider applications for exploration authorisations in respect of other onshore areas until this Research Programme has concluded.

EPA/DCENR/NIEA Research Programme on UGEE

Full details of the UGGE research programme can be found on the EPA website:

Maps, databases and reports held by the Geological Survey of Ireland of potential relevance to the UGGE Study

The Geological Survey of Ireland, as the national earth science organisation, has datasets on Bedrock Geology, Quaternary Geology & Geomorphology, Mineral Deposits, Groundwater Resources, Geological Heritage, Landslides and the Irish Seabed. These comprise maps, reports and extensive databases that include mineral occurrences, bedrock/mineral exploration, groundwater, site investigation boreholes, karst features, wells and springs.

Many of GSI’s maps and databases are available to view or download on the GSI website under “Online Mapping” with datasets currently available for Bedrock, Geological Heritage, Groundwater, Karst, Geotechnical boreholes, Mineral locations. More recent viewers accessible from the same link include the National Landslide Viewer, the Tellus Border Viewer, the Aggregate Potential Mapping and the Geotechnical Viewer. The GSI also holds historic reports in its Document Management System (DMS).

Bedrock Geology:
(to view data:
Bedrock geology (1:500,000)
Bedrock geology + structural/stratigraphic data (1:100,000)
Bedrock geology 6” field sheets, high-resolution scans (available to download via

Geophysical and Geochemical Data
(to view data:
Tellus Border/Tellus aeromagnetic data
Tellus Border/Tellus airborne radiometric data
Tellus Border/Tellus airborne EM data
(Data available to download via

Tellus Border/Tellus soil geochemistry data
Tellus Border/Tellus stream water geochemistry data
Tellus Border/Tellus stream sediment data
(Data available to download via

Lough Allen Basin 
GSI Bedrock 100k sheet 7 compilation – map, cross-sections, report. 
NW Carboniferous Basin (Marinex) report, 4 volumes– detailed stratigraphy, structure, petrology, palaeontology. 
Unpublished ‘grey cover’ report (Philcox, 1986) – incorporates Aran wells into above with good correlation fence fig. 
G Millar thesis, ‘fracturing in the NW Carb basin’ 
Sami Mohamed Khattab, 2012, ‘‘Assessing the Shale Gas Potential of the Northwest Carboniferous Basin of Ireland’’, MSc By Research, Basin Studies and Petroleum Geoscience, University of Manchester
R Dunphy’s thesis – some structural data
Onshore petroleum wells and seismic data available via Petroleum Affairs Division's iPAS system ( )

GSI Bedrock Geology 100k sheet 17 compilation - map, cross-sections, report.
Onshore petroleum wells and seismic data available via PAD iPAS system (
EPA/GSI study on Clare Basin CCS capacity, “An Assessment of the Potential for Geological Storage of CO2 in the Vicinity of Moneypoint, Co. Clare” – detailed stratigraphy, borehole correlations, basin analysis (Aurum/TNO/EPA/GSI)  

Geotechnical Data
(to view data:
Geotechnical borehole and site investigation data 
Geotechnical reports

Quaternary data 
Quaternary sediments, geomorphology & landforms (1:40,000)

Groundwater Data
(to view data:
Groundwater borehole database, containing depth to rock information
Subsoil permeability map (1:40,000)
Subsoil particle size analyses BS5930 classification database (subsoil outcrops and boreholes)
(to view data:  
Groundwater vulnerability map (1:40,000)
Groundwater recharge map (1:100,000)
Groundwater resources (aquifers) map – bedrock and sand/gravel (1:100,000/1:40,000)
Karst features (e.g. swallow holes, springs, turloughs)
Karst tracing database (record of underground connections between input locations (sinks) and risings) • Groundwater county groundwater protection reports and individual source protection reports ( )

Mineral/aggregate deposits:
(to view data:  
and )
Aggregate potential map (1:100,000)
Quarry Directory 2014
Mineral occurrence database
Open File data (scanned mineral exploration reports, logs) 
Exploration records
Commodity records
Longford Down stream sediment
Hydrocarbon database (Jonathan Carter’s data)

Geological Heritage:
(to view data:  and )
Geological Heritage Sites Boundaries (1:10,000) – audited County Geological Heritage sites
Geological Heritage Sites No Boundaries - (1:10,000) – unaudited County Geological Heritage sites (buffered)
The Geological Heritage of County Clare’ Audit report 2005. To download site reports and GIS data:  
The Geological Heritage of County Monaghan Audit report 2013. To download site reports and GIS data: 

(to view data:
Landslides database and susceptibility map (1:40,000):

Irish Seabed:
(to view data: )
Sound velocity profile
Grab samples
Tide gauges