Report forecasts huge lift in economic beneift

Cluff offers new industry in jobs-hit Kincardine

Algy CluffA company wanting to extract coal gas from under the Forth says it will create hundreds of jobs in the Kincardine area which is due to see the closure of the Longannet power station.

A development of an underground coal gasification (UCG) industry would provide 1,000 jobs in the Firth of Forth area and 5,000 in total across Scotland, according to a new report published by independent economic consultancy Biggar Economics.

The report, commissioned by Cluff Natural Resources (CNR), sets out the potential economic impacts of developing UCG projects.

These are in Kincardine, elsewhere in the Firth of Forth area – where the Longannet station will shut next year – and across the UK. They will provide supplies for a new generation of gas fired power stations, industrial heat and chemical feedstocks.

The report says an initial project at Kincardine would contribute around £603 million in gross added value to the UK economy, 71% of which could be retained in Scotland. This project could create as many as 830 jobs in creation and average around 350 jobs over a 30-year lifetime.

Other UK UCG projects could generate £5.6 billion in value and support an average of 3,300 jobs (peaking at 6,100). Over 40% of this could be retained in Scotland.

The report argues that UK, and particularly Scottish based companies, will develop specialist experience in UCG technology, which could be exported to other countries with UCG potential.

In 30 years time UK based companies could be exporting almost £560m worth of UCG related exports. Long term sales of these goods and services could generate £6.6bn GVA for the UK economy and support an average of around 3,900 jobs (peaking at 7,800)

Ultimately, it says a new UK based UCG sector has the potential to generate £12.8 billion GVA for the UK and support an average of over 7,500 jobs (peaking at 11,900). Around 45% of this impact could be retained in Scotland.

UCG projects around the UK could fuel power stations with a total capacity of around 3,600 MW. Constructing these power stations could generate an additional £1.2 billion GVA for the UK economy and support around 4,000 temporary construction jobs. Once fully operational the power stations could support around 570 permanent jobs and generate a further £203 million GVA/year.

Cluff infograph
Cluff plans: click to enlarge

By providing feedstock to the chemicals sector UCG could play a fundamental role in safeguarding 4,800 jobs.

Algy Cluff (pictured), Cluff chief executive and chairman, said: “The findings of this report highlight the huge potential of the development a UCG industry in Scotland and the UK. UCG has a vital role to play in the diversification of the UK’s energy mix and security and this report demonstrates how the development of UCG would create significant benefits for both the Scottish and wider UK economy.”

Graeme Blackett of Biggar Economics, author of the report, said: “Scotland is a hydrocarbon and energy-rich country, and this could be an important new industry on a UK- wide basis, supporting many thousands of sustainable jobs.

“Subject to the robust planning and regulatory processes that we rightly have, there are major advantages in being the first movers in this technology, and becoming a world leader.”

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