Linc Energy says dispute with Queensland 'not material'

SINGAPORE - Oil and gas production company Linc Energy has responded to allegations by Australia's Queensland government that the firm's underground coal gasification (UCG) plant near Chinchilla has caused serious environmental harm.

Singapore-listed Linc said on Thursday it is "firmly of the view that it has not caused environmental harm and will defend the allegations".

It added that it considers the charges "not material to the operations and finances of the company".

Queensland's government said earlier this week that the state's environment watchdog had filed charges against Linc on the grounds of environmental damage from the UCG plant.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) said Linc had breached environmental laws. Queensland's Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the charges followed a detailed nine- month investigation into Linc's UCG plant.

But Linc responded that the complaint and summons served by the DEHP were "not specific about what the nature of the alleged environmental harm".

Linc's managing director and chief executive said in a statement: "I do not see these allegations as being material to the company or the future of UCG.

"They will not affect the normal operations of the company in any way or the various expansion plans we have for UCG around the globe and the reality is it will take 2 years or more for this process to play out."