Australian Queensland-based resource company Linc Energy, which has successfully formulated an underground coal gasification (UCG) technology to produce diesel and jet fuel, has pricked the interest of no less than Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Mr Abramovich reportedly flew in Australia over the weekend and had dinner with Peter Bond, Linc Energy chief executive, according to The Australian Financial Review. Afterwards, the Russian tycoon, the 50th richest person in the world with a net value at $US12.1 billion, according to Forbes, toured Linc's coal gasification facilities located at Chinchilla, 300 kilometres west of Brisbane.
"He is particularly interested in the Clean Energy UCG business," Reuters News quoted an unidentified source, who requested anonymity as the talks were confidential.
It is not clear though if the Russian billionaire directly wants to invest in the company or use Linc's technology in Russia, the AFR reported. Russia has already some companies applying the UCG technology, but none of which were owned or associated with Mr Abramovich.
"There are common interests. They (Abramovich) used to be big in oil and they want to be again because they sold out of their oil interests," the source said.
With a market capitalisation of $310 million, Linc Energy has been in talks with several potential investors on developing and moving its global business. It has a portfolio of coal, oil, gas and oil shale deposits globally. It boasts as the pioneer and world leader in UCG technology, which converts underground coal into a high-quality fusion gas.
It signed with Chinese green power firm GCL Projects earlier this year an agreement to produce diesel from coal syngas. GCL eventually took a 5 per cent stake in the firm.
Shares of Linc soared 5 per cent on the news and last traded up 3.4 percent at A$0.615 per share.