Test drilling and lab analysis of CIRI-owned land on the west side of Cook Inlet confirmed a large commercial coal reserve with geological attributes appropriate for a syngas extraction and production facility.
CIRI and its joint -venture partner, Laurus Energy, conducted the tests earlier this year on a remote and unpopulated parcel of land located northwest of Beluga as part of efforts to build the first commercial underground coal gasification facility in North America. The two companies formalized their partnership on the project with the formation of Stone Horn Ridge LLC last June.
Stone Horn Ridge was formed to expand Alaska’s energy options with a clean and domestically-produced alternative to natural gas. Stone Horn Ridge proposes to use underground coal gasification, or UCG, to produce syngas that can be used to generate electricity or used as feedstock for industrial processes, including production of synthetic natural gas and clean liquid fuels. UCG is a proven energy development technology that harnesses the power of coal deep underground without mining. The environmental impact of syngas production from UCG is similar to natural gas production.
Current plans are to complete due diligence, environmental risk assessment, project design, permitting and construction in time to initiate commercial operations in 2015. Stone Horn Ridge officials are committed to capturing and managing CO2 produced by the project. The first phase of the project proposed to produce syngas to fuel a 100MW power plant and other commercial uses of syngas. Later phases are likely to provide syngas for industrial processes including conversion into synthetic natural gas for local consumption or export.