Mumbai: The Tata Group have bid for setting up coal-bed methane projects, where it will compete with Reliance Industries, Anil Ambani's Reliance Power and 19 other companies.
''In all, 22 applicants have applied for allocation of coal blocks for coal-to-liquid (CTL) project. Some of them have submitted multiple applications through more than one firm," coal ministry officials said.
Other domestic companies that have expressed interest in the project, include Essar Oil, JSPL, JSW Steel, GMR, Gujarat State Petronet Ltd, Vedanta Aluminium, Sterlite Energy, Indiabulls, Welspun and Strategic Energy.
Public sector majors like SAIL, GAIL and Indian Oil have also submitted applications for the coal-to-liquid projects.
In their applications, a couple of the companies have said their proposed CTL plants would have a capacity to produce 80,000 barrels of oil a day.
The government is offering three coal blocks in Orissa with cumulative reserves of about six billion tonnes for the project. An inter-ministerial group would soon examine the proposals for allocation of coal blocks for the CTL project.
''Though there are three coal blocks on offer, only one would be actually allocated for the CTL project. Companies, however, can give their choices for the block," coal ministry officials said.
The project will convert coal into liquid fuels such as petrol, diesel, naphtha, aviation turbine fuel, LPG and others. A coal ministry website release said a 1.5-billion tonne coal block should enable mining operations of 28-31 million tonnes of coal per annum for 30 years.
The coal ministry has set a minimum net worth of Rs4,000 crore for bid participants as a 3.5 million tonne oil project is expected to cost around $6-8 billion.
The ministry has also sought details of technology providers and tie-ups as the technology required for the project is not indigenously available.
The coal-bed methane project is likely to see another clash of the Ambani brothers, both of whom will be vying for one coal block.