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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        15  March 2011

Indonesia ready to supply Japan with fuel

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In addition to sending rescue teams, Indonesia stands poised to help Japan with offers of liquefied natural gas and oil.

Elan Biantoro, a spokesman for upstream oil and gas regulator BPMigas, said Indonesia had fuel at the ready to help the stricken nation.

“We’ve already prepared for Japan’s demands for energy. We are calculating the stock,” Elan said on Monday. “We have not yet received confirmation from Japan.”

Japan uses 54 nuclear reactors to supply 30 percent of its power. Tokyo Electric Power is seeking to avoid a meltdown of at least two reactors at its Fukushima Daiichi power station following the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami on Friday.

Elan said there were 20 cargoes of LNG available on the spot market if Japan wanted it. One cargo of LNG equates to between 125 million tons and 175 million tons.

Indonesia expects to export 362 cargoes of LNG this year, down from 427 last year. Japan was initially projected to import 172 cargoes of Indonesian LNG this year after taking in 258 cargoes last year.

The gas is supplied from state oil and gas company Pertamina’s fields in Tangguh in Papua, Bontang in East Kalimantan and Arun in Aceh.

Indonesia could also see exports of low-sulfur crude and fuel oil increase as Japan tries to maintain its power supply.

“On a nationwide basis, the additional crude oil burned for power generation should result in an increase of close to 300,000 barrels a day from recent levels,” said Olivier Jakob, managing director of Switzerland-based researcher Petromatrix. This should “provide some strong support” to Indonesian crude, he said.

Japan’s imports of Indonesia’s Minas and Duri crudes and Sudan’s Nile Blend surged past 200,000 barrels per day after nuclear plants shut in July 2007 following an earthquake. Minas, Duri and Nile Blend are considered denser than alternative varieties and able to ignite at relatively lower temperatures.

Minas jumped to a premium of $4.50 per barrel to its official price after the earthquake in 2007, the most in the past four years. It is now at $1.60. Duri crude surged to a premium of $5 per barrel to its benchmark price in 2007. The grade is currently at a premium of $3.30.

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