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Monday, March 21, 2011

Indonesia's LNG surplus prioritized for domestic market

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government has pledged to prioritize its liquefied natural gas (LNG) stock to meet the country`s domestic demands before deciding to export it to Japan.

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Darwin Saleh said here Monday that Indonesia still assessed the Japanese government`s request for an increasing LNG supplies.

"We take a look at the surplus of our LNG supplies to meet our domestic demands amid our limited infrastructures," he said.

The Indonesian government would consider the Japanese request if the domestic market could not absorb the LNG stock, he said.

The ministry`s director general for oil and gas, Evita Legowo, said a team had been assigned to assess the Japanese government`s request for an increasing import of Indonesian LNG.

"The team is re-examining the ways of meeting our domestic demands and assisting Japan," Evita Legowo said, adding that the total volume of Japan`s demand for the LNG remained unknown.

Indonesia reportedly has 20 unsold cargoes of LNG, which are part of 60 cargoes of surplus of Bontang refinery`s LNG production.

The 20 cargoes could be exported to Japan while remaining 40 cargoes could be sold to South Korea`s Korea Gas.

On March 17, Japan had officially asked Indonesia to increase its LNG supplies to help the country deal with its power crisis in the aftermath of devastating disaster.

Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Makiko Kikuta said that the 9-magnitude earthquake and the subsequent deadly tsunami had damaged his country`s nuclear power plant.

As a result, power supplies had drastically dropped. In response to the scarcity, the Japanese government had made the use of electricity as efficient as possible, he said.

In connection with the Japanese request, Makiko Kikuta met with Coordinating Minister for Economy Hatta Rajasa at Borobudur Hotel here on March 17.

Makiko said Japan`s demand for electricity was practically equal to power supplies for entire Java Island.

Therefore, he appealed for an increase in LNG and crude oil supplies from the Indonesian government in dealing with the difficult situation.

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