A UK-based oil and gas company has applied for a new drilling licence which could lead to the fracking of natural gas in the Fermanagh/Leitrim border region.

The company – Tamboran Resources Limited – lodged an application for a Petroleum Licence with Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy last week, on Tuesday, May 7.

Any person who wants to explore for, drill for or extract oil or gas in Northern Ireland must hold a Petroleum Licence granted by the Department for the Economy under the Petroleum (Production) Act 1964.

However, this is a renewed drilling application that comes five years after its initial application was turned down due to significant local opposition and environmental concerns.

On its website, the Department for the Economy states that the application has been accepted as “a valid application” and that consultation on the submission will close on Friday, July 5, next.

In the interests of “openness and transparency” the department has notified the relevant organisations that it has accepted the Petroleum Licence Application and has invited them to make representations.

These organisations include: NI Executive Departments Northern Ireland Water Limited; Fermanagh and Omagh District Council; Phoenix Natural Gas Limited; BT Group Plc Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; Firmus Energy SSE Airtricity Gas (NI) Limited; Invest NI; The National Trust; NIE Networks Tourism NI; and Northern Ireland Environment Link.

It is understood that the objective of this consultation is to ensure that a range of opinions are taken into account in preparation for making a recommendation to a future minister as to whether or not the Petroleum Licence should be granted.

A public notice will now also appear in local and regional newspapers for a period of two weeks. The consultation will last for an eight-week period.