Eko Listiyorini – Indonesia, the top thermal coal exporter, will keep a broad ban on January shipments in place even as exemptions have allowed some fuel-laden vessels to depart.
Coal miners that fail to comply with rules intended to secure supply for domestic power production won't be permitted to resume exports this month, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Panjaitan said Thursday in a statement.
The country moved to halt overseas sales after state-owned power company Perusahaan Listrik Negara faced dwindling fuel stockpiles, risking blackouts that could have impacted millions of people. That decision forced global coal prices higher and prompted protests from regional consumers including Japan, and some Chinese buyers.
As local fuel stockpiles are rebuilt, Indonesia's government has allowed at least 37 coal-laden vessels to leave. The ships are carrying about one million tons of the fuel, which compares to usual monthly exports of between 40 million and 50 million tons, according to Jodi Mahardi, a spokesman at Panjaitan's ministry.
"I want this to be closely monitored so it can be a moment for us to improve domestic management and prevent similar issues from happening in the future," Panjaitan said in the statement.
The issue has underscored how energy security has become a prominent concern for governments around the world, as supply chain snarls and a rapid economic recovery from the pandemic have caused fuel shortages from China to Europe. Indonesia's actions came just months after coal prices hit record levels.
Miners that don't fulfill contracts with state-run PLN, or abide by rules to supply at least 25% of their output to the domestic market, will face fines, according to Panjaitan.
Energy and mineral resources ministry data at the end of October showed only 115 of 613 miners met those criteria, according to a report by Tempo magazine. As many as 418 producers didn't supply to any local consumers, the report said.
Futures for high-quality thermal coal at Australia's Newcastle port, an Asian benchmark, and Chinese coal futures have pared gains from earlier this month on expectations any major threat to global supply has eased.