PREMIER DISMISSES 'UNTRIED' GASIFICATION TECHNOLOGY

PREMIER DISMISSES 'UNTRIED' GASIFICATION TECHNOLOGY

PREMIER Anna Bligh has dismissed underground coal gasification (UCG) as an ‘untried technology’, a worrying statement for the $1.4 billion Linc Energy.

Linc Energy is Brisbane’s ninth largest publicly-listed company and a market leader in UCG development.

Speaking at a recent Gold Coast Media Club event, Bligh defended the State Government’s decision to shut down Cougar Energy’s Kingaroy plant for environmental breaches, and questioned the future of UCG in Queensland.

“We have a moratorium on any applications for underground coal gasification. It is a relatively new technology. Cougar got a license as a way for us to test this technology and I have to say to date it doesn’t give us much confidence about its future,” says Bligh.

“UCG is a relatively untried technology and it’s very small part of what’s happening Australia-wide. It’s very different to the coal seam gas (CSG) industry and in this case they haven’t met the standards are they won’t be operating.”

The Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) found Melbourne-based Cougar had breached several environmental regulations and ordered immediately closure of its facility. It follows a temporary suspension last year when cancer-causing Benzene was found in groundwater bores.

“Cougar Energy unfortunately has breached environmental regulations and we are not confident that they are able to operate this facility into the future. They will not be allowed to operate anymore in Queensland,” says Bligh.

“We have an opportunity here in Queensland to be the energy powerhouse of Australia, but we need to make sure that we do that carefully and vigorously and companies that don’t meet the standards are not going to be players here.

“This is a company that has consistently breached environmental regulations and has allowed chemicals to go into the water system. We make no apologies for enforcing high environmental standards.”

Linc Energy CEO Peter Bond was unable to be reached for comment, but earlier released a statement to the ASX confirming the acquisition of an Alaskan oil field for US$50 million.

The diversified energy company claims its innovative use of UCG and gas to liquids (GTL) technology at its Chinchilla Demonstration Facility will create cleaner power and fuels than that of the CSG sector.

“Linc Energy owns and operates the world’s only UCG to GTL facility and has proven the in-situ conversion of solid coal to gas for cleaner synthetic fuel production, with the facility based near Chinchilla,” Bond stated in an ASX report.

His claims are partially validated by a Queensland Government DERM report from January, which states the company was ‘open and willing’ in the investigation and recommends Linc continue its trials.

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