The Scottish government announced that it will not support the developments of the underground coal gasification (UCG), a form of unconventional gas extraction from coal seams, after a new report raised serious environmental concerns.

The UCG gas extraction involves injection of oxidants into underground coal deposits to heat them to temperatures, enabling gas to escape.

In October 2015, the Scottish government imposed a moratorium on UCG to assess the practice.

The new report, which was prepared by University of Glasgow professor Campbell Gemmell, suggests that the UCG would appear logical “to progress toward a ban” due to variety of reasons.

The study found the UCG industry has a history of incidents of pollution and losses of containment.

In the report, Gemmell also noted that that the UCG will be a serious obstacle in reducing Scotland’s carbon/greenhouse gas emissions without an operational storage method.

Scotland Business, Innovation and Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Having considered the report in detail, it is the Scottish Government’s view that UCG poses numerous and serious environmental risks and, on that basis, the Scottish Government cannot support this technology.

“Accordingly, UCG will have no place in Scotland’s energy mix at this time.”

Wheelhouse has also requested the UK Government not to issues further licenses to UCG developments in Scotland and to revoke the existing licenses.

Image: Illustration of underground coal gasification process. Photo: courtesy of Bretwood Higman, Ground Truth Trekking/Wikipedia.