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Volume 888: debated on Tuesday 11 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what floor price the Government consider appropriate for British coal and synthetic natural gas to enable funds to be diverted to the latter in order to formulate an economically viable process.

At 1974 prices it would not be economically competitive to use coal for the production of substitute natural gas in the United Kingdom using established coal gasification technology even if the cost of coal was zero. Newer processes under development in the United States of America, if successful, might enable substitute natural gas to be produced at a cost about double that of the coal feedstock, and would then be economically viable with United Kingdom coal at present prices if the gas were worth about 15p a therm.