SOURCE: Zeus Development Corporation

May 24, 2010 12:55 ET

Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) Progresses, Zeus Conference to Review in Houston, June 28-29

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwire - May 24, 2010) -  Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI), an Alaska Native corporation, is moving forward with ambitious plans to establish a 100-MW UCG project west of Alaska's Cook Inlet. The project would become the first in North America to reach commercial scale.

Five pilot projects are operational in Australia, China and South Africa. A commercial-scale unit is in Uzbekistan. Developers aim to apply the technology, once perfected, globally.

Permitting for the Alaska project began in October 2009. If it advances, power production could begin in 2014. A cadre of experienced advisors, including Laurus Energy, using UCG technology from a Canadian company, Ergo Exergy Technologies, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, are assisting CIRI.

The proposed site lies north of the Beluga River -- in remote, largely uninhabited territory. Yet, it is close to a gas pipeline to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Anchorage. Southern Alaska is in need of electric power. UCG offers a clean-coal solution.

The area is known to have huge resources. CIRI plans to tap into just one of a series of stacked seams located on its land.

"We know that we have a 55-foot thick coal seam in our project area at a depth of about 1,850 feet," Ethan Schutt, CIRI senior vice president for land and energy development, stated.

UCG developers aim to find seams that are too deep or too remote to mine with conventional technology. Because the coal is gasified in place, only synthesis gas is piped to the surface. The CO2 is then pumped back underground.

On June 28-29, the CIRI development and others will be discussed in Houston at Zeus Development Corporation's fourth conference on UCG. It will include senior industry representatives, including developers from Australia, Cougar Energy and Carbon Energy, Great Northern Properties Limited Partnership/Quintana, Houston-based Laurus Energy, Stanford University, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Clean Coal Limited, and CIRI.

Also just added, Dr. Christine Ehlig-Economides, Texas A&M University professor and co-author of "Sequestering carbon dioxide in a closed underground volume," (Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, January 2010), will discuss her report's findings and the implications for UCG.

The full agenda can be obtained online at or by contacting Amy Nussmeier (713-952-9500,

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