Cougar Energy has today announced the signing of an MOU with the Sindh Coal Authority in Pakistan for the granting of an Exploration Licence covering 50 km2 of the Thar coal field, to develop a 400 MW power station to be fuelled by underground coal gasification (UCG). Cougar Energy (UK), a 50% owned subsidiary of Cougar Energy, is expected to be granted the Exploration Licence within the next month, following the formalities of completing the appropriate paperwork.Cougar Managing Director, Dr Len Walker, said today that the Exploration Licence provided Cougar UK with access to an area containing an extremely large coal deposit, which has already been the subject of extensive drilling; and a preliminary UCG study by Cougar Energy’s technology provider, Ergo Exergy Technologies of Canada. Within the agreed Exploration Licence area the coal seams vary from 8 to 23 m thick, at depths varying from 115 to 205 m. The Geological Survey of Pakistan has drilled 27 holes in the area at approximately 1 km spacing, which were cored and geophysically logged across the zone containing the coal seams. “A review of all geological data will commence immediately on grant of the Licence, with the company’s work program directed at completing a feasibility study for a power station of at least 400 MW within 18 months” Dr Walker said.The UCG process enables deep coal deposits (more than 100 m underground) to be converted in situ into a synthetic gas which is recovered via production wells for use as a fuel for power generation and/or the production of petro-chemical products. The Thar coal field is estimated by the Government of Sindh to contain a coal resource exceeding 100,000 Mt. If successfully applied to the coal deposit, the UCG process will overcome technical problems associated with the use of conventional open pit mining methods in the coal field, and enable large scale power generation projects to be developed to meet Pakistan’s escalating demand.Signing of the Pakistan MOU is part of the continuing efforts of both Cougar Energy and Cougar UK to seek out further opportunities for developing significant projects using the UCG process, as part of their strategy of creating a significant long-term international business.