GAIL goes for underground coal gasification, to buy Tripura gas company

GAIL (India) Ltd signed a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) with Ergo Exergy Technologies Inc, Canada, for development of gasification from large coal resources, which are not exploited by conventional methods of mining for either economic or technical reasons. The MoC was part of over half a dozen agreements concluded by GAIL on the sidelines of the 'third Asia gas buyers' summit in New Delhi.

The other agreements include an MoU with the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) for offshore gas hydrate exploration, an MoU with the NCDEX commodity exchange to develop a spot market for natural gas trading, an MoU with Spectra International of Bangladesh for joint co-operation in CNG infrastructure development projects and gas retail markets in Bangladesh and an MoU with software giant Infosys Technologies for development and commercialisation of software to manage the retail natural gas business across all categories of customers worldwide.

GAIL also signed an agreement with the Tripura Industrial Development Corporation (TIDC) and the Assam Gas Company Ltd (AGCL) to pick up a controlling stake of 29 per cent in their joint venture company, Tripura Natural Gas Company Ltd (TNGCL).

Coal gasification
GAIL will prospect coal and lignite deposits for underground coal gasification (UCG) projects in India along with Ergo Exergy. The design of pilot and commercial UCG plants, their construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance will also be carried out jointly. The companies will cooperate for methods of clean-up, safety and environmental engineering of these plants.

Ergo Exergy, the developer and the owner of the Exergy UCG technology which powers commercial UCG projects worldwide, will help GAIL to determine the technical and economic viability of each project, bring in effective and efficient drilling techniques and production of UCG gas in commercial quantities with quality and consistency for fuelling a commercial combined cycle power plant. It will supply the know-how for UCG power generation and chemical synthesis including cleanup, processing and conditioning of UCG gas for value added applications such as production of methanol and clean diesel.

Offshore gas hydrates
In the gas hydrate projects under the 'national gas hydrate programme' (NGHP), GAIL is actively utilising the expertise of the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, in the Indian Ocean. Under the MoU, a joint work group will be set up to discuss and finalise specific projects. Within a month, both GAIL and NIO will nominate representatives to a joint working group, which will evaluate project proposals on gas hydrate including deliverables, timelines and a funding schedule. NIO and GAIL will exchange data generated, processed and interpreted during this collaboration. NIO and GAIL scientists will associate in acquisition, processing and interpretation of data pertaining to all projects related to exploration and exploitation of gas hydrate.