Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich jetted into Australia for talks with resource company Linc Energy, renowned for its underground coal gasification (UCG) technology, a report said Thursday.
The Russian billionaire, who made his fortune in the oil industry in the 1990s, had dinner with Linc chief Peter Bond last weekend before a tour of coal gasification facilities in Queensland, the Australian Financial Review said.
Linc would not comment, but the newspaper said Abramovich's visit was confirmed by sources in the resources sector.
The Australian-listed company has a portfolio of coal, oil, gas and oil shale deposits globally and claims to be the world leader in UCG technology, which transforms underground coal into a high quality synthesis gas.
It can also apply its UCG processes to extract "stranded" oil from near-depleted reservoirs, a potentially lucrative business as oil prices climb and global oil demand increases.
There has been some underground coal gasification used in Russia but not by companies associated with Abramovich, the newspaper said.
"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," a source was quoted as saying.
"They are interested in the UGC process."
Abramovich, who has significant investments in steel and gold, also reportedly visited Perth during a three-day trip on his private jet.
London-based Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and has pumped hundreds of million pounds into the club, who became European champions in May this year.