Cluff’s new coal-gas mining licence ‘could help save Longannget power station’


Cluff's UCG licence for Frances field (not marked) is immediately left of Largo Bay field (marked)
Cluff’s UCG licence for Frances field (not marked) is immediately left of Largo Bay field (marked in red)

Cluff Natural Resources – the AIM quoted UK natural resources investing company – has acquired a third licence to produce underground coal-gas from the Forth estuary.

The UK Coal Authority has awarded Cluff a deep underground coal gas (UCG) licence in the Forth off the Fife coastline between Kirkcaldy and Leven – known as the ‘Frances’ field.

Cluff already owns two licences for Largo Bay and the Kincardine offshore fields in the Forth estuary and this third licence extends its portfolio of licences in this area to an area covering a total of 192sq. km.

The company also considers the potential scale of UCG in Firth of Forth could be sufficient to offer a solution to ‘secure the future of power generation at Longannet ‘(which is due to close in the near future) through the construction of a gas fired power station which could be co-fired with UCG produced syngas.

This licence award further highlights Cluff’s commitment to establishing a long term presence in this region of central Scotland – ‘which is unique for its energy intensive industries and abundant but ‘stranded’ energy resources’.

Meanwhile, Cluff has appointed Environmental Resources Management as its planning consultants for the Kincardine underground coal gasification Project further along the Firth of Forth – an ‘important step; towards the commercialisation of its UCG licences.

See Scottish Energy News 24 Feb 2015: Forthcoming low-carbon Forth Estuary coal-gasification development could dwarf Scottish renewables wind energy

Algy Cluff, Chairman and Chief Executive of Cluff Natural Resources, commented: “We believe that UCG will help provide a cleaner energy, diversity of supply and energy security for the UK.

“The award of this additional UCG licence in the Firth of Forth, Scotland considerably bolsters our position in the region and clearly demonstrates our commitment to becoming a long-term supplier of syngas to industry at Grangemouth and the surrounding energy intensive industries including power generation.

“In addition, we are delighted to announce the extension to our UCG licences in Cumbria for conventional coking coal mining. We recently announced a large coal exploration target with suitability for conventional coal mining as well as UCG, which adds an exciting new dimension and optionality to this licence area.

“With a large portfolio of UK energy assets now including nine UCG licences totalling 690km2 and five promote licences for conventional gas exploration in the Southern North Sea, all of which are 100% owned, we look forward to updating the market on our developments across our portfolio of gas assets in due course.”

The gasification of coal produces Syngas which a mixture of combustible gases composed mainly hydrogen, carbon monoxide, methane and carbon dioxide.

It can be fired directly with air in boilers to raise steam for power generation, used in combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) or supplied to the petrochemical, steel or chemicals industry for the manufacturer of plastics, liquid fuels and fertilisers.

Syngas can also be decarbonised, partially of completely, for UCG-CCS to be an effective low carbon solution to power generation. It is expected that the above ground footprint of the coal gasification demonstrator, and future commercial scale developments, will 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.  

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