SINGAPORE-listed Linc Energy will begin the first steps of developing an underground coal gasification (UCG) project in Poland after receiving government approval.

The Polish Ministry of the Environment’s initial green light will enable Linc to work closely with the Polish regulators as it moves to undertake gas production trials and verification of its propriety UCG process.

The aim of the first stage will be to confirm that UCG operations in Poland are operated as a safe and environmentally acceptable method of industrial scale gas extraction that can be adopted as a commercial energy solution in the near future.

The project will be developed within Linc’s coal license area near Krakow. The Brisbane-based company said the site was ideally located and well researched, with the company having completed coal resource drilling, a seismic survey and a detailed evaluation of the coals geological conditions.

The company’s internal evaluation indicates that its Polish coal resources could produce about 800 billion cubic metres of pipeline gas across the life of the combined UCG projects at the rate of 10 billion cubic metres of gas per annum for the next 80 years, Linc said.

As part of its Polish UCG demonstration operation, Linc Energy intends to move some of its existing UCG equipment and gas lab from Chinchilla in Australia to its site in Poland, as well as re-using a significant amount of UCG production equipment, with key items anticipated to arrive in Poland by the end of the fourth quarter.

Linc Energy chief executive and managing director Peter Bond said it was satisfying to see all the company’s hard work and investment in Poland was paying off.

“As we commence these initial trials of our well proven and patented UCG process, I believe that UCG will start to change the current energy landscape in Europe through its ability to create gas self-sufficiency in those markets that are currently dependent on imported gas supplies,” he said.

The company is still seeking finalisation of some necessary regulatory approvals prior to construction starting.