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Oil Trader Vitol Teams With Peabody to Grind Coal for Refineries

  • Companies will work with U.K. startup in coal-to-oil venture
  • Deal marks another bid by Vitol to diversify from core trading

Vitol Group, the biggest independent oil trader, and mining giant Peabody Energy Corp. are joining forces to give coal a new lease on life.

The companies have teamed with a U.K. startup that’s developed a process to pulverize coal, remove impurities and pollutants, and blend it with crude or fuels for use by refineries and other customers. While unproven on an industrial scale, the technique has the potential to revive an industry that has stumbled as the world shuns coal for cleaner natural gas and renewables.