Domestic coal consumption would exceed coal exports, sometime between 2015 and 2020, if the government cap on coal exports remains in place, an association said Tuesday.
Indonesian Coal Mining Association president Jeffrey Mulyono said domestic coal demand would jump to 75 million tons in 2009, from this year's 52 million tons.
Domestic coal demand would reach 170 million tons between 2015 and 2020, with exports limited to 150 million tons a year as stipulated by a recent regulation, which set the cap in anticipation of increased domestic demands.
The export limit was also made in anticipating the 2010 opening of new coal-fired power plants by state power company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN).
The demand for coal in the industrial sector is also expected to increase, with many companies switching from oil to coal as an alternative energy source amid skyrocketing global oil prices.
In response to such strong demands, Jeffrey said, the country's coal industry were ready to fulfill domestic market needs as long as the government provides infrastructure, including a strong national carrier armada.
Jeffrey said the industry needed 60 panamax bulk carriers and 79 handy-sized vessels to ship 100 million tons of coal overseas each year.
The massive armada would also be needed to supply the new power stations around Java with coal from mines in Kalimantan and Sumatra -- areas with the largest coal reserves.
Jeffrey said business opportunities for coal suppliers, exporters and conversion businesses would be huge.
"We need coal suppliers to fulfill the needs of PLN and industries in Java ..."
"Coal exporters are also needed, but they would really have to compete with international coal traders," he said.
This year, the country expects to produce up to 225 million tons of coal, a 4 percent increase from last year's 215 million tons.
Currently, 75 percent of the country's total coal production is exported.
Domestic coal prices average around US$20 per ton under existing contracts between producers, industries and the government, while international prices sit around the $90 mark. (anw)