Ergo Exergy - UCG

July 16, 2010

Laboratory Mix-Up Causes Suspension of Operations at Cougar Energy’s Kingaroy UCG Plant

You may have noticed media reports regarding the government imposed suspension of operations at Cougar Energy’s Kingaroy UCG plant. The following is to help explain the situation.

An independent laboratory that has been analyzing samples taken from ground water monitoring holes at Cougar Energy’s Kingaroy UCG site, made a mistake mixing up two samples from different sources. One of the samples was from a monitoring hole, 200m away from the gasifier. The other sample was taken from the actual gasifier that contains by-products of the gasification. As a result of the mix-up, the laboratory reported relatively high levels of benzene in the monitoring hole. The laboratory subsequently admitted the mistake in a formal letter to Cougar Energy. After receiving the results and prior to discovering the lab mistake, Cougar Energy notified Queensland Government of the analysis result stating that it is most likely erroneous and that another independent lab result for the same monitoring hole and the same period showed zero benzene levels. Government nevertheless rushed to issue a media release about Cougar Energy’s alleged ground water contamination and temporarily suspended plant operations.

Cougar Energy issued a press release with clarification of the situation. The error is being rectified and the Government has been informed accordingly. The company is working to secure the immediate lift of the Government suspension of operations.

The following points are important to note regarding the Kingaroy UCG Project:

  • There is no benzene in any monitoring holes.
  • At no point in time have any levels of any reference compounds, non-compliant with drinking water standards, been registered in any monitoring holes.
  • The setup and conduct of the UCG process in Kingaroy could not cause any contamination of ground water.
  • Cougar Energy is maintaining an extensive ground water monitoring program far beyond their obligations under the ‘Environmental Authority’ issued by Queensland Government, which has shown no contamination to date.

We sincerely hope that the media will be as eager to clear Cougar Energy’s name and record as they were in spreading the hasty and unjustified Government media release.


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