Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) is in advanced talks with three European or US firm for its ambitious $10 billion coal-to-liquid project (CTL).

The partnership is likely to be announced in next three-four months, said Ravi Uppal, Managing Director and Chief Executive for JSPL.

He didn't divulge the name of the companies the company may partner.

The company plans to commission the CTL project by 2019. Few year backs, Government allocated Ramchandi coal blocks in Odisha to JSPL to implement CTL project in the country.

In the CTL project, liquids fuels such as methanol, petrol and diesel are produced from coal. Currently, the technology is commercially used in South Africa, China and the US.

JSPL has discussed the technology tie up with companies such as UDHE, Siemens, Conocophilips, GE and KPR, among others.

"We have short listed three of them and currently in advanced stages of discussions. We would decide in next three-four months," Uppal explained.

Talking about funding a $10 billion project which would be first of its kind in the country, V R Sharma, Chief Excutive for Steel Business in JSPL said that by 2015, the company is targeting a turnover of Rs 5,000 crore and raising funds would not be a problem.

Currently, JSPL is seeking regulatory clearances to explore Ramchandi coal block. The CTL plant may be located within 7-10 k.m. from the mine, Sharma added.

At the same time, for CTL project, JSPL has entered into a technology tie up with Germany-based Lurgi.

But the company is looking for another technology tie-up for methanol and olifins, which would also come out as products if CTL project is implemented.

In the past, the Tatas have also tied up South Africa's Sasol to launch a CTL project. However, the project has not seen light of the day till date.

According to industry watchers, the Sasol's technology is not suitable for converting coal available in India to liquid fuels.

Indian coal has high ash content and with less calorific value.

siddhartha.s@thehindu.co.in

(Business Line is visiting JSPL's Angul Project on invitation from the company)

(This article was published on March 14, 2013)
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