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Coal India is considering producing petroleum oil at its Chatra coal mine in Jharkhand. Petroleum oil from coal is part of the state-run coal behemoth’s diversification plan and it will soon invite an expression of interest for it, Coal India chairman Sutirtha Bhattacharya told reporters on Saturday. The Chatra mine comes under its subsidiary Central Coalfields.
Oil from coal can be used in automobiles. With crude prices on the rise, it will be a viable option for the company. Having been able to meet most of country’s coal demand, the miner now plans to diversify into related fields to keep its bottom-line healthy.
The company recently invited quotes from technology licensors for converting coal to chemical for a commercial project at Dankuni in West Bengal. The Dankuni project is for a coal-based methanol plant which uses high-quality coal from Eastern Coalfields, another subsidiary of Coal India. Details of the project can only be known after we know what kind of technology is brought to the table by experts, said Bhattacharya.
A few years ago, Coal India had initiated talks with South Africa’s Sasol, a leader in coal-to-liquid (CTL) technology. The project envisaged a minimum investment of Rs10,000 crore and it would entail producing hydrocarbons from coal with modern refineries. The proposal was not pursued and the plan was shelved, Coal India executives said.
Bhattacharya said Coal India has been undertaking initiatives to address quality issues reported by some consumers. This includes adoption of modern mining methods, additional third-party sampling and washing of coal.
The miner has also engaged a consultant to tackle taxation issues arising out of difference between assured coal quality and final delivery.
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