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Indonesian coal majors focus on coal gasification projects

The country’s coal mining major Bukit Asam (PTBA) plans to establish a coal-to-DME processing facility this year

Indonesia’s mining majors are betting on coal gasification projects as the country’s biggest export markets and global investors are keen to establish a carbon-neutral future. Furthermore, Indonesia is considered the world’s largest coal exporter. It shipped 31.7 percent of the global exports in 2019. The reports are produced by International Energy Agency.

The country’s coal mining major Bukit Asam (PTBA) plans to establish a coal-to-DME processing facility this year. The company has partnered with state oil and gas company Pertamina and the U.S. chemical industry company Air Products for the $2.1 billion project.

The facility will be developed in Tanjung Enim, South Sumatra Province. PTBA is targeting 2025 to embark on commercial operations of the facility, with a production capacity of 1.4 million tons of DME per year. Six million tons of coal is expected to be used in the facility, about a fifth of the company’s production in 2019.

Chief Executive Arviyan Arifin told the media, “The coal-to-DME project is one of PTBA’s main strategic initiatives in realizing [a] business transformation from being previously a conventional mining company to become a ‘beyond coal’ company. Moreover, with this project, hopefully it can be a good start to support national energy security.”

While the country’s largest coal producer Bumi Resources is involved in a different project. The company’s subsidiary Kaltim Prima Coal is partnering with Air Products and Ithaca Resources to establish a coal-to-methanol facility in East Kalimantan Province.

Global oil and gas majors have been urged to turn into carbon neutral in the future by various global organisations and governments.

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