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U.K. Coal Bed Methane May Be ‘Material’ Gas Source, IGas Says

IGas Energy Plc, a U.K. coal-bed methane explorer, said the gas can make a “material” contribution to Britain’s energy supply.

The company has signed a second rig contract for its Doe Green site in northwest England, according to a statement today, in an attempt to produce commercial quantities of natural gas found in seams of coal. IGas says it has enough reserves to supply 15 percent of U.K. homes with electricity for 15 years.

“It could become a material part of the mix in the U.K.,” Chief Executive Officer Andrew Austin said in a telephone interview. “Within the next couple of years, we should be able to demonstrate that we can produce positive earnings on projects.”

The company also has shale gas acreage, though Austin said it will focus on production from coal beds first because the environmental impact is lower. The London-based explorer is seeking to show it can produce gas at commercial rates after completing pilot projects, he said.

IGas said in May that its 2010 full-year loss widened to 1.54 million pounds ($2.5 million) from 504,000 pounds in 2009.

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