Our Bureau

Kolkata, Oct. 14

THE Union Ministry of Coal has allowed Coal India Ltd (CIL) to take up an underground coal gasification project jointly with ONGC.

This will now help CIL sign a formal MoU with ONGC, although the CIL board has already approved ONGC's proposal.

ONGC first initiated the move more than a year ago, expressing keen interest to exploit coal gas from virgin deposits in joint venture by introducing underground coal gasification (UCG) technology, to be sourced from the NMRC-Skochinsky Institute of Mining, Russia.

CIL was approached because it has many identified virgin coal blocks under its command.

Moreover, it was felt that it would be beneficial for ONGC and CIL if some of the blocks were taken up for coal gasification purpose.

A CIL source said the company would begin with a pilot project for ascertaining whether the Russian technology works in Indian geo-mining conditions.

A 50:50 joint venture company would be promoted, subject to the successful implementation of the pilot project.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 15, 2005)
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