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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     18  June 2011

Gas shortage forces Indo imports

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State utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara plans to import gas in a bid to secure fuel for its power plants, which would make it the first time that Indonesia has had to purchase gas from abroad for electricity generation.

“I will fight to get the gas this year,” Dahlan Iskan, chairman of PLN, said on Friday in Jakarta. “We are aggressively seeking gas supplies right now.”

Dahlan said PLN is looking to purchase liquefied natural gas from countries including Iran, Kuwait, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Dahlan visited Iran in April to assess the possibility of importing LNG from the Gulf nation. Jakarta-based PLN also is studying an option to purchase fuel from Papua New Guinea, he said, which is in the process of building an LNG plant.

“We will go to Papua New Guinea and see how it is going,’’ Dahlan said.

PLN needs approximately 1,800 million standard cubic feet per day in fuel to supply its gas-fired plants, which have a total capacity of 9,800 megawatts.

The government provides 800 mmscfd of gas, which means the plants have had to make up for the shortfall by using the equivalent of 1,000 mmscfd in diesel and gas.

Further use of natural gas in the electricity generators, though, would contribute to the government’s plan to reduce its dependence on diesel. If all of the power plants used gas, PLN could save up to Rp 60 trillion ($7 billion), Dahlan said,

Nasri Sebayang, investment and technology director at PLN, said the three power plants that supply electricity for Jakarta lack sufficient supplies of gas.

The Tanjung Priok and Muara Karang plants in North Jakarta are short by as much as 170 mmscfd, and the other plant in Muara Tawar is deficient 270 mmscfd.

“Because of that, we have to consider importing gas,” Nasri said.

A further complicating factor is that PLN has not been receiving gas from domestic producers as stipulated under contracts.

PLN should have been getting as much as 100 mmscfd to fuel its 1,200 MW Muara Tawar power plant from the Grissik gas field, operated by ConocoPhillips, in Sumatra. But the field was sold to Chevron Pacific Indonesia to prioritize oil production.

The trial is ongoing.


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