The coal mine, which is hidden under the Firth of Forth, Scotland, hoards a huge untapped reserve of coal energy that could be a new source of gas for power stations and the industry, according to experts. The very idea has been raised by Algy Cluff, chairman and chief executive of energy resource company Cluff Natural Resources.
Cluff has had discussions with Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Swing regarding the coal mine’s potential contribution to the economy. The following week he visited Grangemouth refinery and chemical complex, which is run by Ineos, to persuade its owners to switch from using imported shale to the hidden energy source offered by the Firth of Forth.
If successful, the switch could mean a considerable enhancement to what is Scotland’s leading business industry regarding the prospect of a long-term future.
Mr. Cluff is a serial entreprenear with a strong background in North Sea oil and gold-mining. With concern for development opportunities in Scotland’s energy market, Mr. Cluff believes the Firth and Forth coal reserve offers the best solution.
He has spent the last 18 months preparing the framework for the new business and the start of drilling. He has also gathered a project team together and is now waiting on the government to provide financial incentives.
Cluff says that he is frustrated by the excess focus on shale, and expects the government to support the Firth of Forth venture as it has supported the sourcing and use of shale.
On whether the industry’s enthusiasm for shale will pay off, Cluff said, “I didn’t even toy with the idea. I always thought shale was going to engage two enemies, Friends of the earth and the entire British middle class.
“We’ve been pioneers [for 18 months] and unquestionably this is going to work. We desperately need the energy.”