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Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation's biggest oil company, is evaluating setting up a Rs 20,000-crore coke gasification project at its Paradip refinery in Odisha to convert the lowest-cost fossil fuel into gas that can be used to generate power or make petrochemicals.
IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh said the company has been evaluating the project even before the Supreme Court banned the use of petroleum coke and furnace oil in areas around the Indian capital, which is battling alarming levels of air pollution thats risking human health.
"Let me make it clear that we haven't come to a decision yet. We are evaluating a coke gasification project," he told reporters here.
A 2 million tonnes a year coke gasification unit would cost Rs 15,000 crore to 20,000 crore, he said adding pet coke produced in Paradip, Chennai and Haldia refinery can be used in the new plant to generate syngas.
The syngas so generated can be used for power generation or further value addition done to produce chemicals used to making plastics and other products, he said.
Singh said the two projects will have to be synced.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries is investing $4 billion in a petcoke gasification to use 6.5 million tonnes a year of petcoke to produce fuel to meet the entire energy requirement at its twin refineries at Jamnagar in Gujarat.
RIL will produce 23 million standard cubic metres a day of syngas to cut used of imported gas (LNG) at the refineries.
India is the world's biggest consumer of petroleum coke, which is a by-produce of oil refining process and is considered a dirtier alternative to coal. It is composed mainly of carbon and emits 11 per cent more greenhouse gases than coal. Also emitted on burning are several times more sulphur dioxide, which causes lung diseases and acid rain.
It is widely used by cement factories, dyeing units, paper mills, brick kilns and ceramics business. The Supreme Court ban, which covers Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, came into effect from November 1.
Singh said the ban will cut imports, which current meet half of the domestic demand.
India imported 14.3 million tonnes of pet coke in 2016-17 and 8.3 million tonnes in first six months of the current fiscal.