PTBA seeking partners to supply coal to RI Sasol plant

State coal producer PT Tambang Bukit Asam (PTBA) is looking for coal producers as partners in a business consortium to supply 2 billion tons of thermal coal to a plant operated by South African Synthetic Oil Ltd. (Sasol) over 30 years.

Sasol, which is the world’s largest producer of synthetic fuel, plans to build a coal-to-liquid-fuel or liquefaction plant in Indonesia. The plant will be able to convert solid coal into liquid.

PTBA president director Sukrisno told reporters on Thursday the company could not supply all the demand on its own as 1.8 billion tons of coal in the company reserves have been sold previously to other buyers.

“We may be able to provide 500 million tons of coal for Sasol,” Sukrisno said while adding that it would be possible for 30 coal producers to join the consortium.

Sukrisno acknowledged that it was too early to talk about a consortium as many things had to be prepared by Sasol prior to making official orders for coal supply.

PTBA, which controls a quarter of Indonesia’s coal reserves, is targeting coal output of 14 million tons this year, up from 11.6 million tons in 2009. Previously PTBA corporate secretary Achmad Sudarto said about 80 percent of targeted production volume had already secured sales contracts.

In December last year, the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) said Sasol planned to build a coal liquefaction plant in Indonesia, worth US$10 billion to produce 80,000 barrels a day of high quality-ultra clean transportation fuel.

It was reported that state fertilizer firms like PT Pupuk Sriwijaya might be involved in the project.

Last month, Sasol and the Indonesian government signed an MoU to start investigating the viability of the

The government said that it has offered four potential sites for the plant, including South Sumatra and East
Kalimantan. Both areas have coal reserves which can generate up to 3 billion tons of coal.

The construction of the project is planned for completion by the end of 2014, and the plant is expected to be at the production stage in 2015.

Indonesia has an estimated 60 billion tons of coal reserves.