Northumberland is shortly set to benefit from hundreds of new jobs, thanks to the development of a new world-class gas and coal industry within the region.
Five-Quarter, based in Newcastle, is preparing to begin tapping into the North East’s coal reserves and will create more than 700 new jobs for the area in total. This will include 400 permanent roles and 300 temporary roles for the construction of a new billion-pound manufacturing facility designed to extract gas from a unique underwater energy development. There will be 145 operational plant roles, 225 drilling roles and 30 logistics and corporate positions.
The company will become the biggest non-public-sector employer in Northumberland when its 1 GW plant goes online. Its plans also include the building of a half-million-pound gas-processing operation in Teesside or Northumberland. This will take the syngas gathered from the underwater Deep Gas Winning operation and process into feedstock for local chemical companies.
Harry Bradbury, the CEO of Five-Quarter, said that the company was moving closer to getting the Deep Gas Winning operation live. He said that the project would provide major benefits to the North East by producing valuable gas from North Sea coal seams and creating local jobs. It will also produce vital feedstock for local industries and provide a competitive positioning for the UK against cheap American shale-gas imports. Mr Bradbury added that he believes the industry has less than ten years to be saved.
The process of underground coal gasification is a well-established one that has been used for over a century. The more advanced form of UCG is Deep Gas Winning, which involves de-gassing deep and multiple layers of mixed rock. Extracted methane can be used for electricity generation and will power around half a million local homes. Teesside industries will buy carbon monoxide and hydrogen from the operation for their own processes.
Five-Quarter will also be investigating innovative solutions for carbon-dioxide recovery and storage and looking at ways to use it for polypropylene, which has a wide range of plastic applications. Through efficient processes, Five Quarter aims to cut C02 costs to just ?5 a tonne rather than ?50 a tonne.
In addition to the gas-processing facility and the power plant, the project in Northumberland will boast four drilling locations, each covering an acre and utilising specialist equipment commonly used in coal-bed methane reserves. Each will be situated on a brownfield site and use eight-inch diameter pipes. The wells are expected to produce for years after ninety days of drilling.
Five-Quarter has licences for the coast of the North East, as well as the Firth of Forth. In May 2013, the company benefited from fifteen million pounds of RGF funding, along with a one-billion-pound debt guarantee from the Treasury. It is also in discussion with European banks and North American consortia to obtain further debt financing and is progressing an equity launch to help generate additional business funds.
The company expects that some of the employment opportunities offered via its partners will provide ongoing employment for a number of specialists who would otherwise be facing the end of their contracts on UK North Sea oil and gas rigs.Last updated on 10:47AM - 11/09/14