GAIL revives interest in Talcher coal gasification

Vol 17, PW 3 (05 Sep 13) Midstream & Downstream

Seven years after it was first proposed, GAIL’s pilot coal gasification project at Talcher in Orissa is making progress.

GAIL on August 28 issued a fourth notice inviting EoIs from technology providers to set up a Rs3000cr ($448m) coal gasification plant to produce 7.7m cm/d of synthetic gas with an EoI submission deadline of September 25. “Once we get the EoIs we will pre-qualify the licensors (technology providers),” GAIL tells us.

State-owned Projects & Development India (PDIL) is consultant for the project that will use 5200 t/d of coal from Coal India coalmines, also at Talcher. Gas produced will be used as feedstock at the Rashtriya Chemical & Fertilizers (RCF) factory, also nearby, to produce 3850 t/d of urea, 2700 t/d of ammonia and 1000 t/d of ammonia nitrate.

RCF’s factory was previously owned by the Fertiliser Corporation of India (FCI) but was closed in 1999 because of financial problems. It will now be revived to take synthetic gas from the Talcher coal gasification project.

Earlier moves to revive this project stalled because of squabbling between project partners GAIL, RCF, CIL and FCI. CIL at first refused to supply coal.

There was also a dispute because GAIL only wanted a stake in the coal gasification plant and not the fertiliser factory. Under pressure from the fertiliser ministry GAIL is now likely to take up to 10% in the fertiliser factory and 50% in the coal gasification plant.