25 August 2015
In a statement to shareholders, he discloses that “work on a planning application will likely be postponed until after such time as the political situation is more certain.” The application to pilot underground coal gasification (UCG) by test drilling off Kincardine in Fife was originally due to be made this autumn, but then was shifted to next year.
But now Cluff does not put a date on when the application might be, blaming “external factors”. These include, he says, “the on-going commission recently set up by the Scottish Government to review Scotland’s energy needs which is due to report in September 2015, a motion at the SNP Party Conference calling for the inclusion of UCG in its moratorium on onshore oil and gas and the Scottish Parliamentary Elections in May 2016.”
These moves all “have the ability to impact the development of the Kincardine project,” he says. “Accordingly we have deemed it prudent to await clarity on these matters before committing fully to, in particular, the expense of an environmental impact study.”
Cluff insists, however, that he is still committed to developing UCG in the Forth, and that work is continuing with regulators and the US oil giant, Halliburton, on technical aspects. “It remains our avowed intention to seek approval to install a pilot plant as soon as is practicable to generate limited production from the Firth of Forth before constructing Britain’s first UCG plant,” he says.