Regulatory delays frustrate UCG company

Underground coal gasification (UCG) energy company Carbon Energy is assessing opportunities outside Queensland to deliver lower emission energy from coal.

A company spokesperson said Carbon Energy had been frustrated by unnecessary delay in regulatory approvals.

Carbon Energy recently announced the company’s continued success with its plan to provide fuel technology for local and world markets via its UCG operations at Bloodwood Creek in south-west Queensland. The company, however, is unable to progress further while it continues to wait for regulatory approval from the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) to increase production.

Australian Syngas Association president Peter Bond expressed concerns about the delay in regulatory approval that may ultimately lead to significant UCG players moving out of the state.

“Regulatory certainty is the backbone of business confidence and I am afraid it is diminishing here in Queensland thanks to these unnecessary delays and abandonment of due process,” Mr Bond said.

The syngas industry is not seeking to lower the regulatory barriers but believes that an effective regulatory regime should result in timely decision making to ensure reasonable commercial outcomes.

“We are looking at an industry player aiming to deliver lower emission energy solutions for the state of Queensland at a much lower price tag than some existing energy sources. In today’s race for energy security, a viable energy option such as UCG should be a part of Queensland’s energy mix and not just handed over to other countries which will leave a significant negative economic impact on Queensland,” Mr Bond said.

“I sincerely hope Carbon Energy is able to continue making progress and achieving milestones while working with the state government and its regulator.”