Sunday 29 March 2015

Panel rejects commercial UCG industry in Qld


Companies trialling an underground gas extraction process in Queensland will be asked to prove they can put out underground fires.

An independent scientific panel has made three recommendations to the state government about Underground Coal Gasification (UCG).

The UCG process involves burning underground coal seams to produced coal gas, known as syngas.

Two companies, Linc Energy and Carbon Energy, have been running pilot UCG plants in Queensland.

The panel found they had successfully harvested gas through underground combustion.

However, it said, the conservative Liberal National Party state government should not allow a commercial UCG industry until the companies proved they could halt that combustion process once gas had been extracted.

Meanwhile, the panel said the UCG trials should continue.

LNP Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said the panel had been complimentary of the trials using world-leading technology.

However, the companies had yet to prove they could halt the combustion process in underground chambers.

“I encourage Carbon Energy and Linc Energy to continue working with the government to demonstrate long-term technical and environmental sustainability of their trial projects,” Mr Cripps said in a statement.

“So what they are saying is that, in terms of the chamber in the ground where the coal reserve was previously located, they want to see a demonstration that the combustion process has been drawn to a close and that there’s no issues associated with that.”

The State Government has shut down a third project at Kingaroy operated by Cougar Energy, in response to a contamination scare.

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