Mon, 07 Sep 2009
NEW DELHI -- India agreed to study setting up joint ventures with Indonesian companies to acquire coal assets, and look at other means of importing the commodity from that country to meet rising demand as economic growth boosts power consumption.

The two countries will form a joint working group to explore the possiblity of buying more coal from the southeast Asian nation and to set up ventures with local companies there, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, minister of energy and mineral resources told reporters after a meeting with Sriprakash Jaiswal, India's coal minister.

India's coal demand for the financial year ending March may rise 10% from a year earlier to 604 million metric tons, according to government forecasts. About 70 million tons of the total will be met through imports - nearly doubling in five years. The nation has been scouting for assets in Indonesia, Australia and Mozambique as the government's plan to double generation capacity boosts requirement.

Indonesia has a large "quantity of coal property and we are in need of coal," Mr. Jaiswal said.

Indonesia expects to produce between 230 million and 250 million tons of coal in 2009, Mr. Yusgiantoro said.

"We will increase it by 20 million tons to 30 million tons per year up to the level that it can be massively exported," Mr. Yusgiantoro said. Currently, Indonesia uses 40% of its output locally and exports the rest.

Indonesia has started trial runs of the second train at its Tangguh liquefied natural gas plant and expects to finish repair work at the first by the second week of October, Mr. Yusgiantoro said.

The Tangguh LNG plant, which is located in West Papua province and has two processing trains, was shut shortly after commissioning in July due to a technical glitch.

The Tangguh LNG plant is owned by a consortium led by Anglo-Dutch oil major BP PLC.

Due to the economic crisis, LNG offtake by traditional buyers - Korea, Japan and Taiwan - has been hit and Indonesia will hold talks with India's Oil Minister Murli Deora on long-term supply contracts, Mr. Yusgiantoro said.



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