In May 2016, after considerable opposition, the company InfraStrata started drilling at Woodburn Forest site in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, and said it expects to complete the well within the next six weeks.
Stop the Drill campaigners are seeking an injunction to stop InfraStrata from going ahead with exploratory oil drilling close to a reservoir that supplies drinking water to thousands of homes. The exploration company said will target the estimated 25 million barrels of oil within the Woodburn Forest prospect. No hydraulic fracking would be used. Once completed, the well will be plugged and abandoned and the site restored to its former state, the company said. In March 2016, the company had obtained permission by the county council. As reported in the press, "Emotions boiled over and verbal abuse was shouted at councillors whose vote leaves the way open for a search well to be drilled looking for oil and gas underneath the forest. Over 100 protesters from the 'Stop the Drill' campaign swamped the town hall in Ballymena to protest against the plans to look for natural resources at Woodburn Forest close to Woodburn reservoirs... As a majority of councillors from Mid and East Antrim Council agreed to give the waste management plan the go-ahead and also rejected calls for an independent survey to be carried out, police were on standby in the council chamber as protesters shouted abuse. Words like "scumbag", "shame" and "disgrace" echoed around the council chamber ...".
Campaigners have set up a permanent protest site at Woodburn Forest.
Their cause has been supported by Mark Ruffalo (Head of Water Defense), who acted as 'The Hulk’
and one of the protesters, Chris Campbell, attended the council meeting wearing green face paint to make him look like the film character. He said: "We got support from Mark Ruffalo who acted 'The Hulk' in Hollywood so I was chosen to be 'The Hulk'. But seriously we are all quite concerned, we all live in the local area, all grew up there. We are all concerned, there is no real measurement of the waste and as we all know the waste chemicals will be stored on site. They have no clear plan of action, how they will dispose of them. They are not telling us anything, there has not been as much as a letter has come into our houses about this.”
Despite the start of the drill the level of opposition campaign has not regressed. On the contrary its reach has been expanded. Since April, there is a popular walk organised every Sunday at Woodburn forest. Then in June 2016, it was reported that "after years of preparation by InfraStrata, months of protests on site against their plans and the proposals being discussed in courts and councils, the firm dramatically announced that they would abandon plans to drill for oil at Woodburn Forest near Carrickfergus." (John Monaghan, The Irish Times, 17 June, 2016).