February 23, 2011

CIL, NMDC to join hands to set up coal-to-liquid plant

Priyadarshi Siddhanta
Posted online: Sat Jan 29 2011, 01:12 hrs

New Delhi : Arguing for hedging against extremely volatile global crude prices, two navratna mining giants, Coal India Limited and National Mineral Development Corporation have decided to form a consortium in setting up a Coal To Liquid (CTL) project at an estimated expenditure of nearly Rs 15,000 crore in West Bengal’s Birbhum district.

The move comes close on the heels of a recent visit by Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and CIL top brass to South Africa, where they saw the positive impact being created by the world’s oldest CTL plant being run by Sasol in the country’s Mpumalanga province. The liquid fuel generated have provided 27 per cent energy security to the African nation. “In a recent letter CIL Chairman Partha S Bhattacharya has offered to partner with NMDC to jointly execute a CTL project in the Deora-Pachami coal block in West Bengal’s Birbhum district,” Jaiswal told The Indian Express. The West Bengal government has sought a minority partnership in the proposed venture, he said.

Accordingly the CIL-NMDC consortium should be given the preferential allocation of the block which has an estimated reserve of 19 billion tonnes of coal, Bhattacharya said and reminded that the steel ministry too has made similar requests to the coal ministry in this connection. “The Sasol experience has clearly demonstrated the relevance of such a large CTL facility in enhancing energy security along with a hedge against extreme volatility of global oil prices. It would also lead to industrial rejuvenation of the eastern part of the country known for its industrial backwardness,” Bhattacharjee argued in his letter justifying the project.

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