Scotland’s energy minister is to make a statement on the future of underground coal gasification (UCG) in the country. Environmental groups have said they hope Paul Wheelhouse will announce a ban on the controversial method of converting underground coal into gas. The Scottish government imposed a moratorium on UCG last year while its potential impact was examined. A wider moratorium on unconventional oil and gas extraction, including fracking, also remains in place. Mr Wheelhouse’s statement to Holyrood will follow the submission of a report by former Sepa chief executive Prof Campbell Gemmell, who was tasked with carrying out an independent examination of UCG. UCG is a method of extracting gas from coal seams that are too deep underground to be mined using traditional techniques.Energy firm Cluff Natural Resources had planned to build the UK’s first deep offs hore UCG plant at Kincardine in Fife, which would have extracted gas from coal seams under the Firth of Forth. Cluff had claimed UCG could generate £13bn pounds for the UK, with almost half of it being retained in Scotland. But it halted work on the Kincardine project last year until the political debate on the issue was resolved. UCG licences in the Firth of Forth and Solway Firth were also held by firm Five Quarters, although the company collapsed earlier this year.
BBC 6th Oct 2016 read more »
Scotsman 5th Oct 2016 read more »
Herald 5th Oct 2016 read more »
The government is due later to reveal whether it backs fracking plans, in a landmark ruling for the UK shale gas industry. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is deciding on a planning appeal by firm Cuadrilla to test frack in Lancashire. His backing would enable shale rock to be fracked horizontally for the first time, in a bid to yield more gas. But, protesters say it uses techniques that risk the environment because of the chemicals and pressure used. Lancashire County Council refused permission to extract shale gas at two sites – Roseacre and Preston New Road – last year on grounds of noise and traffic impact, forcing Cuadrilla to appeal.
BBC 6th Oct 2016 read more »
The fossil fuel industry’s emissions of a powerful greenhouse gas are dramatically higher than previously thought. Researchers who pulled together the biggest database yet of worldwide methane emissions found that, after natural sources were discounted, emissions from gas, oil and coal production were 20-60% greater than existing estimates. Methane makes up just 16% of global greenhouse gases and is shorter-lived than the CO2 which accounts for three quarters, but has a much more powerful warming effect. The extra methane estimated by the study is 300 times larger than the amount leaked in California’s Aliso Canyon last year, which was the worst gas leak in US history. While bad news for efforts to tackle climate change, the new study published in Nature also found that methane emissions had fallen as a fraction of industry’s production.
Guardian 5th Oct 2016 read more »