Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) plans to mark its foray into synthetic fuels through a US$6-8 bln project that will turn coal into oil (CTL). RIL aims to produce about 80,000 pd of oil through the process. The Rs 30,000 crore project will consume about 30 mln tpa of coal. India has 248 bln tons of coal reserves of which 93 bln tons are proven reserves.
Coal-to-liquids technology converts synthesis gas into hydrocarbons, which can be converted into petrol, diesel, naphtha, chemicals and even electricity. RIL has tied up with two American companies, Texas-based KBR and Utah-based Headwaters CTL, LLC, for technology. Since the project requires large quantities of coal and involves open-cast mining, RIL is pursuing underground coal gasification (UGC) projects. For this, India's biggest private-sector refiner is in talks with British oil giant BP PLC. RIL has already reached an understanding with the governments of Gujarat and Rajasthan and was also pursuing UGC projects in Madhya Pradesh, where it has been awarded blocks for coal bed methane.