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CBM development on rural estates in UK

World Coal,

As Buccleuch Group – one of the largest private landowners in Scotland – announced a pre-tax loss of 2013 of over half a million pounds, the company also signalled its intent to develop its coalbed methane (CBM) reserves found on its rural estates.

Buccleuch’s portfolio includes 11 000 ha. of woodland, more than 1000 properties and 200 farms spread largely across the south of Scotland. One of the company’s rural estates is Queensberry, where Drumlanrig Castle is situated.

The company has an established interest in the mining sector, and said that in regards to its mining and energy portfolio, “proposals to extract CBM from a site on its Langholm Estate were in the early stages of development.”

Buccleuch is exploring the opportunity to develop CBM on its estate alongside Dart Energy. The company said, "Opportunities to extract coalbed methane in partnership with Dart Energy have not progressed, as we have sought to obtain further comfort that this resource can be extracted safely and sensitively.”

"We continue to work with community representatives and government, at local and national level, to address legitimate environmental concerns and, for the sake of clarity, until such time as those concerns have been addressed, it is not our intention to use hydraulic fracking.”

"We remain convinced, however, that subject to further test drilling, this represents a significant development opportunity for Scotland," Buccleuch concluded. On the company’s website, it claims that developing CBM at the Langholm Estate would form a significant part of Scotland’s push for lower carbon energy sources and supply energy security.

Last Summer, Dart Energy promised that it would not use hydraulic fracturing techniques to extract CBM at a site in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The firm inherited the Canonbie license after buying Greenpark Energy. Dart said it would drill horizontally into the coal bed. The firm claims it has demonstrated that commercially viable levels of CBM can be produced without fracking.

Dart said it would work with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) to alter its permits so that it does not need, nor have licences to use, fracking for coal-bed methane.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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