Hi Ian, I guess this means that my experience with burning coal will give me more job security!
This is coal-gassification, The germans did this during WWII since they had limited petroleum resources.
There is a big push to create liquid fuels from all coal in Montana, something like enough coal to make gas/diesel/heating oil for another couple of centuries. ?? Not sure on that 'statistic'.
The latest idea is that the US government guarantee the coal-gassification industry a per-barrel price of $38, this is their break-even cost to make the 5 Billion initial investment worthwhile for the investors.
Well the ONLY way oil would drop to $38/barrel would be if OPEC saw a threat from our coal-gassification program. So if the Gov. gurarantees the $38 price then the investors will step up to the plate and we can make our own oil.
As much as I hate big government, I think this is a good idea and program, the Gov is not really involved except as a guarantee money source.
Maybe in a decade or so...