The government has identified five lignite blocks and two coal blocks with estimated reserves of 950.5 million tonnes for offer to various companies for taking up underground coal gasification projects.
Stating this in the Rajya Sabha in a written reply, minister of state for coal Pratik Prakash Bapu Patil said the offer of these blocks is under process as per the amended provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act.
He said the government had already issued a gazette notification notifying coal liquefaction as one of the specified end uses for the purpose of allotment of captive coal/lignite blocks to entrepreneurs.
State-run Oil India Limited has already successfully tested an experimental project using direct conversion technology with the coals of North-Eastern Coalfields, the minister said, adding that both direct and indirect methods of converting coal into oil have been tested commercially in different countries.
He said the coal ministry has allotted two coal blocks in Talcher coalfields, in Odisha (north of Arkhapal-Srirampur block) Strategic Energy Technology Systems Ltd and Ramchandi block to Jindal Steel & Power Ltd with production capacity of about 80,000 barrels of oil per day per project. These are expected to commence by 2018, he said.
He said the government has notified underground coal gasification as one of the end uses under captive coal mining policy, with a view to developing potential for energy production in the country.