Sasol offers coal liquefaction tech to India

Sasol offers coal liquefaction tech to India

Johannesburg: South Africa’s petrochemicals giant Sasol is keen on promoting its ambitious Coal to Liquid (CTL) transportation fuel technology in India and is seeking firm assurance from New Delhi on the allocation of coal blocks for the purpose.

“Sasol is contemplating a six to eight billion dollar investment in India and a commercially proven technology but new in India," Ed Cameron, General Manager (Commercial) of Sasol Synfuels International told a business session organised as part of the India-Brazil-South Africa summit here yesterday.

India has 248 billion tonnes of coal reserves of which 93 billion tonnes are proven reserves.

Observing that a CTL plant could produce 500-1000 MW of export electricity depending on the configuration, he said five such plants could replace 20% of India’s fuel imports by 2020.

A CTL plant having a capacity of three million tonne per annum could offer a clean diesel production of 68%, Naphtha production of 30% and LPG 2%, he said.

“We are engaged in dialogue with several authorities in India including Planning Commission, Ministries of Coal and Petroleum and Natural Gas," he said.

Recalling a meeting with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who was here recently, a company official said that his response was “positive".

The company was looking at coal mines in Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh where the quality of coal could suit the technology it was planning to offer, the official said.

She, however, said that a feasibility report into the project could be undertaken only after ascertaining the quality of the coal.

With the recent amendment in the Coal Act by the Union Cabinet, the company was hopeful of getting the captive coal mines for the project, she said.

Declining to divulge details about the Indian partner for the project, the official said: “We do have strong Indian players".

Seeking access to appropriate coal blocks and enabling fiscal framework, Cameron said that Sasol was “committed to making CTL work in India".

Sasol, which at present fulfills 30% of South Africa’s fuel requirements through coal-based synfuels, is undertaking a pre-feasibility study for the potential development of CTL facilities in China.