CIL, ONGC to produce coal bed methane from 10 new mines; support SAIL at Parbatpur

Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on October 26, 2018

Methane gas plant (file photo) - By Special Arrangement

The Coal Ministry has identified 11 mines to produce coal bed methane (CMB). Of these, 10 will be worked on jointly by ONGC and Coal India Ltd (CIL), and the two will also work on one mine with SAIL.

“It was decided in a meeting last week that ONGC and CIL will partner to produce CBM from 10 new mines that Coal India will open. Initially, ONGC will harness the gas and then CIL will extract coal from them…the first agreement for harnessing CBM through this route is expected to be signed as early as next month,” a Coal Ministry official told BusinessLine.

“In addition to the mines with CIL, the two (ONGC and CIL) will also help develop Steel Authority of India Limited’s Parbatpur coal block. Here, too, ONGC will first harness the CBM,” the official said.

“SAIL had surrendered the Sitanala and Parbatpur coal mines this year. We levied a penalty on SAIL for not making progress on the Sitanala coal mine. But we told SAIL to keep the Parbatpur coal mine and to attempt coal extraction with the support of ONGC and CIL,” he added. In its representations while surrendering the Parbatpur mine, SAIL had said there was a reduction in the area available for coal mining due to overlapping of mining area. SAIL had engaged MECON to prepare a techno commercial viability report, which declared the project unviable. The SAIL board had then decided to return the Parbatpur mine to the Coal Ministry on March 1.

Coal demand

Commenting on the present coal demand, another Coal Ministry official said the committed demand is being met. “The country’s coal supply is meeting 97-98 per cent of the annual contracted quantity. We are meeting a demand of 1.4 million tonnes per day and the coal production is growing at 10.5 per cent. As per the thermal programme, we are meeting 99 per cent of the coal demand,” he said.

“The demand for thermal power has been unprecedented. The country’s GDP grew roughly 7 per cent since 2015. But coal demand did not keep pace during 2015 and 2016. Now the coal production has been growing,” he added.

Published on October 26, 2018

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