September 29, 2008

Region’s Bid for Coal Revolution ; Outdated Rules Hold Back Key Energy Study By University

By Adrian Pearson

ENERGY experts are pleading with the Government to make a minor legislative change that could herald a new era of clean North East coal.

Outdated rules are holding back a Newcastle University study that aims to turn the region's coal into a gas while still underground.

The complex process is governed by the Petroleum Act, so the university is competing against big oil companies for the chance to research coal fields potentially worth billions of pounds.

But university Pro-Vice-Chancellor Paul Younger said a "simple change" in the law would speed up research, which would lead to cheaper fuel, increased energy independence and the potential for thousands of jobs.

He said: "There is huge potential for the region if we look at the seams in the Northumberland basin or out to sea. There are huge resources there and reserves that still have a future."

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