Coal gasification boost

Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) proponent MetroCoal has announced it had secured exclusive exploration rights over a large tenement in the Surat Basin.

Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) proponent MetroCoal has announced it had secured exclusive exploration rights over a large tenement in the Surat Basin.

The move is a significant boost to the emerging UCG sector, which according to the company, is estimated to be worth billions of dollars to the Queensland economy because it avoids the still-to-be-resolved issue of overlapping exploration rights on tenements by UCG and Coal Seam Gas (CSG) proponents.

MetroCoal CEO Mike O’Brien said the company has secured the exclusive rights over a 60 km2 portion of one of its extensive coal tenements in the Surat Basin after an overlapping petroleum and gas tenement was relinquished over the area.

“MetroCoal now has a Mineral Development Licence application over the area and moved quickly to raise the exploration funds required to begin a drilling program in the tenement in the Wandoan area,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said the MetroCoal area at Wandoan will be in the vicinity of a CSG operation, providing the opportunity to prove that both UCG and CSG can co-exist within proximity of each other.

“UCG requires considerably less land than the level sought by the CSG operators and our footprint will have minimal land impact,” he said.

“It is estimated UCG can produce billions in royalties for Queensland alone over the next 20 plus years and could supply cleaner diesel, fertilizers and transport fuels for many decades.

“Australia is expected to require 600,000 barrels of oil per day by 2014-15. Queensland will have the opportunity to meet this domestic demand right in its own backyard.

“These fuels will be of immense strategic importance to Australia, reducing our reliance on imported fuels and saving many billions of dollars in foreign exchange and it should be considered a must for Governments to develop a coal-derived clean fuel industry to meet domestic demands.”

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