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Naveen Jindal-led Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL) is in talks with three technology producers from Europe and the US and will zero in on one within the next 4-5 months for producing methanol and oilfins from its ambitious coal-to-liquid (CTL) project, two top officials of the company said on Thursday.
The company already has a tie-up with Lurgi of Germany for CTL technology, but without any investment participation.
"We were talking to Udhe, Siemens, ConocoPhillips, GE and KPR, among others, and now we have shortlisted three to be our technology partner for the coal liquifaction project, said V R Sharma, deputy managing director and chief executive officer, steel business, JSPL.
The company plans to invest R55,000 crore in a coal liquifaction plant, which will have the capability to produce methanol, gasoline and high-speed diesel from coal.
Currently, such technology is commercially used by SASOL in South Africa, China and the US. The Tata Group and SASOL were also planning to start a coal liquifaction project in India, but the project has had no major development yet.
The investment, however, hinges upon securing coal supply for the project. "We cannot move ahead with this project till we have guarantee for the coal supply, said Ravi Uppal, group managing director and chief executive officer, JSPL.
JSPL has applied for mining leases for Ramchandi mines in Orissa. It has not yet received clearances but is optimistic about starting the project in 2019. Commenting on the source of funding for such a large-scale investment, JSPL officials said that the company's improving performance will aid them in this regard. "By 2015, we will close R30,000 crore of projects, we will also complete expansions in Raigarh and Oman, said Sharma. "After all this, our profitability will be R5,000 crore, so we can start spending R15,000 crore a year as capital expenditure.
He added: "Funding the coal liquifaction project won't be a problem, but such projects are government supported plants.
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