The Government undertook a feasibility study of underground coal gasification (UCG) which concluded that, in conjunction with carbon capture and storage, UCG had the potential to contribute to UK energy requirements. The study was published in October 2004 and can be accessed at the following web address: www.berr.gov.uk/energy/sources/renewables/publications/page19148.html.
Although significant hurdles need to be overcome, there is some appetite in the UK market to exploit such techniques. We are discussing with interested companies how the regulatory regime can accommodate this novel technology. It is, at this stage, too early to gauge the level of contribution that UCG might be able to make to UK gas supplies as the technical, economic and environmental viability of such techniques has not been proven.