Indonesia hopes to resolve coal crisis in the next few days -minister

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JAKARTA – The Indonesian government hopes to reach a decision on resuming coal shipments in the coming days, its energy minister said on Monday, as pressure mounts on the world’s largest thermal coal exporter to end the New Years ban.

“We have made an inventory and we hope that in the coming days there will be more clarity so that we can have the security of coal and resume exports,” Energy Minister Arifin Tasrif said at a meeting with the Japanese Minister of Industry, Koichi Hagiuda, which was broadcast virtually.

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Japan is among several countries that have pressed Indonesia to ease its suspension of coal exports, which was imposed on January 1 after state-owned electricity company PLN reported extremely low inventory levels. https://reut.rs/3JVSTUl fuel, putting it on the brink of widespread blackouts.

The Philippines https://reut.rs/34FKxAp on Monday joined Japan and South Korea in urging Indonesia to lift restrictions.

Minister Hagiuda told the meeting that Japanese companies wanted clarity from Indonesia.

“Also, there are Japanese ships that have already been loaded (with coal), so if it takes time to make an adjustment.

“We would like to ask you to at least allow these ships to leave for Japan.”

The Japanese Embassy in Jakarta last week called on Indonesia to exclude high calorific coal, which is not used by national power plants, from the ban.

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SOLUTION SOUGHT

Although authorities said the emergency coal supply was over at PLN, the government said it still needed to address other issues before lifting the ban.

Discussions on the issue are expected to resume on Monday, focusing on logistics issues, industry officials told Reuters.

Shipping companies were struggling to find the best solution to meet PLN’s demand for coal, said Carmelita Hartoto, president of the Indonesian Shipowners Association, who participated in the coal negotiations.

A PLN spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for details of its latest procurement situation.

Pandu Sjahrir, chairman of the Indonesian Coal Miners Association (ICMA), said PLN will have 10 days of coal supply.

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The power company said it got 13.9 million tonnes of coal but wants 20 million tonnes to reach a 20-day stock level for its plants.

“We are ready to supply coal for the desired quantity per PLN,” Pandu said.

“The problem is now with shipping, but there should be a solution for it soon. “

Fabby Tumiwa, executive director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), an energy think tank, said hauling coal to power plants could take up to 10 days, but during wet periods like january, loading alone could take up to four days. , depending on the size of the vessel and the infrastructure.

Fabby said small miners are also at risk of their coal not meeting specifications from PLN, which does not have a coal blending facility.

“It is risky to ship their coal to be rejected by PLN. They also can’t use small barges if they want to ship to PLN’s factories in Java and Sumatra, ”Fabby said.

“They need bigger ships, which means they have to wait until their coal is pooled… It’s a complicated logistical challenge.” (Additional reporting by Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo Editing by Martin Petty)

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