The first ever pilot project of Underground Coal Gasification was carried out in Vastan mine block, Surat, Gujarat in collaboration with Gujarat Industries Power Company Ltd. ONGC obtained the environmental clearance for the project from Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), GOI, after final meeting with Expert Appraisal Committee of MoEF which was held on January 15,2010.
UCG is the only feasible technology which has the potential to convert coal resources to coal reserves. ONGC has now taken up Vastan Mine block site belonging to GIPCL in Naninaroli, Surat district, Gujarat as an R&D Pilot Project to establish UCG technology in collaboration with M/s National Mining Research Center-Skochinsky Institute of Mining (NMRC-SIM), Russia. Agreement of Collaboration (AOC) to co-operate in the Services, Operations, Development and Research related to Under Ground Coal Gasification (UCG) in India with ONGC has further been extended up to March 4, 2020. Mining lease with respect to the Vastan Pilot Project has already been awarded to GIPCL.
Moreover, a number of sites have been jointly identified by ONGC and Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited (NLC) for studying their suitability to UCG. These are Tadkeshwar in Gujarat and Hodu-Sindhari & East Kurla in Rajasthan. One more site was jointly identified by ONGC & GMDC viz. Surkha in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat. The data of all the fields have already been analysed for evaluating the suitability of these sites for UCG. All the sites have been found suitable for UCG exploration.