Jakarta – The state utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara, or PLN, has seen its coal stockpile increase by 7.5 million metric tons, just days after the government imposed a surprise coal export ban, diminishing the risk of a widespread power outage while increasing the chances of the government lifting the ban sooner than planned.
"Coal power plants that have been experiencing supply issues are beginning to see their problems resolved," Darmawan Prasodjo, the chief executive of PLN, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The government halted coal export last Saturday and planned to keep the ban for the entire January as domestic coal miners neglected their obligation to supply 25 percent of their output for local power plants at a capped price of $70 per metric ton, or around half of the current price in the international market.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is supposed to review the export ban on Wednesday.
The ministry had previously stated that at the beginning of this month, PLN stock has fallen to as low as 35,000 metric tons, and it would require an additional 5.1 million metric tons of coal for the rest of the month to maintain a 20-day supply, critical for avoiding widespread outages.
Today, the company said its stockpile was filling up.
"Thanks to a clear and firm directive from the President that insisted on prioritizing the domestic demand, the coal crisis could be averted," Darmawan said.
Earlier, President Joko "Jokowi' Widodo had warned coal miners that he would not hesitate to revoke their permit if they failed to fulfill their local power plants' obligation.
"This is a mandate from Article 33 Paragraph 3 of the 1945 Constitution that 'the earth, water, and natural resources contained therein are controlled by the state and used for the greatest prosperity of the people," Joowi said on Monday.
"Companies that cannot fulfill their obligations to meet domestic needs can be subject to sanctions. If necessary, not only do they not get export permits, but also revoke their business licenses," he said.
PLN said that the company sought to increase its stockpile further but did not target any specific number. PLN previously told the House of Representatives in November that the utility firm needed around 119.2 million metric tons of coal this year, up from an estimated 115.6 million metric tons from last year.
Adaro Energy, Indonesia's second-largest coal miner, said the company had received an assignment from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to supply an additional 500,000 tons to PLN.
Febriati Nadira, Adaro's corporate communication head, said that the company would fulfill the order immediately.
Adaro's domestic market obligation was around 11.1 million tons for 2021 and had delivered about 9.69 million tons in the January-October period, Nadira said.
With additional sales in November and December, the estimated total domestic coal sales for 2021 would be 26-27 percent of the company's total production, she said.