Pratim Ranjan Bose

Kolkata. Oct. 8

, ONGC is planning commissioning of two pilot coal gasification projects in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh by the end of the year.

Having already entered into an MoU with Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) for setting up underground gasification project in Tamil Nadu, ONGC is now planning to have a similar arrangement with India's oldest coal PSU, Singareni Colleries Company Ltd (SCCL), for gasifying surface coal.

SCCL, a joint undertaking of Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Union Government, runs 69 working mines in four districts of Andhra Pradesh producing roughly 10 per cent of the total coal production of the country.

Talks with Royal Shell: While underground gasification project is done with technical collaboration from Stochinsky Institute of Russia, ONGC is negotiating a technical tie-up with Royal Shell for surface coal gasification.

ONGC sources said the projects had been taken up on "fast track basis". The project sites for both the UCG and SCG pilot schemes were yet to be finalised. The cost would run into "a few hundred crores."

According to sources, though ONGC had taken an initial interest in commissioning a pilot underground coal gasification project in the Jharia coal belt (under Bharat Coking Coal Ltd) through a joint venture with Coal India Ltd, it has now decided to concentrate only on development of coal-bed methane projects in the eastern part of the country.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 9, 2005)
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