Coal India (CIL) has floated a global tender for setting up the country’s first coal-to-methanol plant in West Bengal at an investment of Rs 6,000 crore.
The company is in discussions with the Indian Oil Corporation and other government-owned oil companies for a long-term tie-up for marketing methanol.
The project envisaged to be set up through a surface coal gasification route will be based on the build-own-operate (BOO) model. Through the tender CIL proposes to select the BOO operator for lifespan of the plant, which is expected to be 25 years.
This is a part of implementing methanol economy programme of the government aimed at reducing the country’s oil import bill.
The proposed coal-to-methanol plant would be set up at CIL-owned Dankuni Coal Complex (DCC) in West Bengal, currently run by its subsidiary South Eastern Coalfields (SECL).
The capital outlay of the entire plant will be borne by the BOO operator, which will own and lease the plant, apart from designing, building, maintaining, producing and storing the product.
CIL will allocate land, power, water to the operator for the proposed plant which targets 6.76 lakh tonne of methanol per annum to be used for blending with petrol up to 15 percent.
The plant is expected to cater to methanol requirement of four eastern states of the country — West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar.
CIL will supply low-ash coal of Ranigunj coalfields for production of 2,050 tonne of methanol per day. CIL will meet around 1.5 million tonne of coal requirement annually.
CIL has aligned itself with the national objective of reducing dependence on imported crude and the plan to set up the plant is a step in that direction.
The prospective bidders should have prior experience in building coal-to-liquid, coal gasification, coal-to-chemical, fertiliser and methanol plants. The plant is expected to be completed in 36 months, while actual commissioning is envisaged to be in 41 months. The last date for submission of bids is 17 December 2020.