from The National, 23 February 2015
A new partnership with controversial US oil giant, Halliburton, to exploit coal gas under the Firth of Forth has come under fierce fire from environmentalists and politicians.
The company that’s leading efforts to develop underground coal gasification (UCG), Cluff Natural Resources, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Halliburton. This launches a new collaboration aimed at commercialising exploration licences covering large parts of the Firth of Forth, starting with an area off Kincardine.
At the weekend an alliance of 30 community and environmental groups wrote to the Scottish Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, demanding that UCG be included in the government’s fracking moratorium. They expressed “grave concern” that it had been omitted, and highlighted health and environmental dangers.
Ewing announced a temporary moratorium on onshore fracking and coalbed methane developments on 28 January. But he specifically excluded offshore UCG, despite having powers to include it.
Cluff Natural Resources, founded by the multi-millionaire oil tycoon, Algy Cluff, has been in talks with Fife and Falkirk council officials in recent weeks and is intending to make planning applications for the Kincardine scheme later this year. It announced on 13 February that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Halliburton.