Woodburn oil well to be abandoned by InfraStrata

Some of the protestors on site.
Some of the protestors on site.

The firm drilling for oil under Woodburn forest in east Antrim is to abandon the project.

InfraStrata announced on Thursday drilling was complete and it was “disappointing not to have encountered a hydrocarbon accumulation”.

The well was drilled to 2,000m (over 6,500ft) deep. The firm said it will now be plugged and the site restored.

The plan has been massively controversial, with campaigners voicing fears about contamination of the nearby drinking reservoirs and about the fact that work was allowed to proceed with no full planning application. Both NI and InfraStrata had insisted the project was safe.

One of the leading campaigners against the plan, James Orr of Friends of the Earth, said: “The community has endured so much for nothing.

“We feel vindicated that this harmful, worthless and ill-conceived project is now over.”

The plan had previously been slammed as evidence of “systemic failure” within Northern Ireland’s planning system.