Unconventional gas extraction suspended in Firth of Forth due to Scottish political climate


Tycoon Algy Cluff cites concerns over SNP conference, 2016 Holyrood elections and Scottish Government review

UNDERGROUND coal gasification plans for the firth of forth are to be suspended amid concerns over political developments around unconventional gas extraction methods.

Circumstances cited by tycoon Algy Cluff include a motion going to SNP conference in October 2015 which calls for underground coal gasification to be included in the Scottish Government’s moratorium on fracking , a government review into energy to be published in September 2015 and the 2016 Holyrood elections.

Quoted in The National, Cluff described these as “a number of external factors… which have the ability to impact the development of the Kincardine Project”.

“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,” he said.

An investigation by The Ferret has previously uncovered that Cluff, head of Cluff Natural Resources, had sought personal written assurances from energy minister Fergus Ewing and planning minister Alex Neil that his plans for underground coal gasification in the Firth of Forth would not be subject to the moratorium on fracking.

Responding to the request for assurances, Neil said:”The moratorium does not apply to the offshore underground gasification of coal.”

It has also previously emerged that several SNP branches submitted motions supporting a blanket ban on fracking, and that a resolution in the SNP’s provisional conference agenda from SNP Leith called for the fracking moratorium to be extended to include underground coal gasification.

Picture courtesy of Chris Combe