Subsea Coal Found Under Firth of Forth

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Cluff Natural Resources has announced an initial JORC resource estimate of 335 million tonnes of coal of which 247 million tonnes is measured and indicated, within its 100% owned Kincardine Licence in the Firth of Forth, Scotland.

This initial resource estimate is a key step towards building the UK’s first deep offshore Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) demonstration project.

CNR’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Algy Cluff, said: “This report supports the Company’s UCG licence selection and forms the basis for future investment in Scotland while proving the performance of the deep UCG process in a UK context. The development of UCG at the Kincardine Licence Area would result in the creation of new jobs, help protect existing industry as well as create significant supply chain benefits. The emerging UCG industry has a significant role to play in unlocking the UK’s most abundant indigenous energy resource which, with the imminent closure of the last deep coal mines, is now otherwise effectively beyond reach.

“The deep offshore UCG projects being undertaken by CNR have significant environmental, safety, and when combined with carbon capture and storage, climate change benefits compared with coal mining and coal-fired power generation. We believe that UCG will help provide a cleaner energy, diversity of supply and energy security for the UK, and we look forward to updating the market on our developments at our Kincardine Licence area with respect to this.”

CNR will work closely with residents, local authorities, regulators and other stakeholders throughout the site selection and planning process to ensure that adequate controls and oversight are in place to give the public confidence in the UCG process. It is expected that the above ground footprint of the demonstrator, and future commercial scale developments, can be located on existing industrial or brownfield sites adjacent to the Firth of Forth with no material adverse impacts on local residents. All actual gasification of coals will take place hundreds of metres beneath the Firth of Forth itself and therefore not anticipated to materially impact the onshore area.

The Kincardine Licence is located in a heavily industrialised region of central Scotland and is adjacent to a major petrochemical complex at Grangemouth, the Longannet coal-fired power station and a number of other energy-intensive industries which could benefit from a new low cost source of fuel gas and petrochemical feedstock.

Stuart Haszeldine, Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage at the University of Edinburgh said:“CNR’s offshore deep UCG is a bold and innovative proposal, which could help to regain energy security and value through low-carbon production of fossil fuel. Domestic coal resources exist which are sufficient to supply many decades of secure energy production and feedstock. But those resources will remain inaccessible until new extraction technology is deployed such as UCG, and unless the produced carbon is captured after use.”

“Fuel and feedstock extracted from coal by underground gasification will be much cleaner than importing coal because most of the engineering occurs deep below ground offshore. Underground gasification will have less impact on the public than other forms of unconventional gas extraction.”

“Carbon capture is essential to link, and balance between, carbon production and carbon storage. Positioning underground gasification in Central Scotland gives easy and unique access to well understood transport pipelines and reliable sites for CO2 storage deep beneath the North Sea.”

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