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by Liam Kirkaldy
04 June 2015
Campaigners warn against new form of unconventional gas extraction in the Forth

Campaigners warn against new form of unconventional gas extraction in the Forth

Friends of the Earth Scotland has warned that plans to introduce a new form of unconventional gas extraction in the Forth pose a “serious risk” to nearby communities.

The warning comes as Cluff Natural Resources opens a consultation over plans for the UK’s first deep offshore Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) project, which it hopes would be based in the Grangemouth-Kincardine area.               

Friends of the Earth Scotland Head of Campaigns, Mary Church, said: “Underground coal gasification has an extremely chequered past, with recent trials resulting in serious pollution and even explosions. Cluff’s plan to undertake this highly experimental technique offshore is untested and poses a serious risk to the sensitive Forth ecosystem and the communities living near it."

Church added: “Communities around the Forth are asking why this damaging fossil fuel extraction is not under moratorium like shale gas fracking and coalbed methane.”

UGC requires operators to drill horizontally to access deposits which cannot be accessed by traditional mining. Coal seams are then burned underground so gas is released and captured above.

Cluff Natural Resources plans to submit a planning application later this year. It is pursuing eight deep UGC licences in the UK, with the site under the Forth thought to hold 335m tonnes of coal.

Describing its plans, the company describes deep UCG as a, “clean and safe process that will enable billions of tonnes of so-called ‘stranded’ coal to be exploited.”

It says: “There are minimal exploration risks as the presence and quality of the coal have already been established from the comprehensive coal mining database that is available.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland is one of 30 groups calling for the moratorium on onshore fracking to be extended to other forms of unconventional gas extraction, such as Underground Coal Gasification.

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