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16. March 2019

INDONESIA: Coal gasification project launched in South Sumatra

The government launched a coal gasification project in Bukit Asam Coal Based Special Economic Zone (BACBSEZ), Tanjung Enim, South Sumatra, recently. The project is being jointly developed by three state-owned enterprises – coal miner PT Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam (PTBA), fertilizer manufacturer PT Pupuk Indonesia and state-owned oil and gas holding company Pertamina – as well as chemical manufacturer PT Chandra Asri Petrochemical. The project follows the companies’ head of agreement (HoA) on the downstream coal industry.

“The establishment of a downstream business in the mining sector is part of the government’s efforts to add value to mining products to support economic growth,” said State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno at the project’s launch, as quoted in a press statement issued on Tuesday (5 March 2019). Through the coal gasification program, low calorie coal will be converted into syngas, which can be used to produce dimethyl ether (DME), a substitute for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG); urea fertilizers; and polypropylene. These coal-derivative products will be manufactured at the BACBSEZ, which is targeted to begin operation in November 2022.

PTBA president director Arviyan Arifin said the project would make an important contribution to the country’s economy as it would significantly reduce LPG imports and reduce the production cost of fertilizers. “We want to create added value by transforming coal into downstream products through gasification,” he said, adding that the project was expected to produce 500,000 t/y of urea fertilizer, 400,000 t/y of DME and 450,000 t/y of polypropylene.

Source: Daily “The Jakarta Post”, Jakarta; 5 Mar 2019
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)

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