PH urges Indonesia to ease prohibition on coal exports

PH urges Indonesia to ease prohibition on coal exports

MANILA — The Philippines has urged Indonesia to ease its prohibition on coal exports after the latter halted coal exports on January 1 due to power plant constraints back home.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has asked Indonesia to relax its coal export restriction, claiming that the policy will harm economies that rely significantly on coal for power generation.

Indonesia, the world’s largest thermal coal exporter, halted shipments on January 1 after the country’s main power company reported dangerously low fuel inventory levels at its domestic power plants.

Other Asian nations like Japan and South Korea have made similar demands.

Cusi made the request in a letter to Indonesia’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Arifin Tasrif, via the Department of Foreign Affairs, according to the energy department, which did not indicate when the letter was issued.

Cusi has requested that the Philippines’ foreign affairs department intervene and make an appeal on its behalf through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) cooperation mechanism.

Last week, the restriction pushed up coal prices in China and Australia, while dozens of boats destined for important clients including Japan, China, South Korea, and India were stuck off the coast of Kalimantan, Indonesia’s biggest coal port.

Last week, the restriction pushed up coal prices in China and Australia, while dozens of boats destined for important clients including Japan, China, South Korea, and India were stuck off the coast of Kalimantan, Indonesia’s biggest coal port.

Preparedness measures

The Philippines, which is still largely reliant on coal for electricity generation, imports the majority of its coal from Indonesia, with some more expensive supplies coming from Australia and Vietnam.

According to government figures, about 70% of the 42.5 million tonnes of Philippine coal supply in 2020 would be imported.

Coal-fired power accounts for over 60% of the country’s energy mix, according to the energy department, with the country importing 2.3 million tonnes per month from Indonesia to feed its power plants in 2021.

Senator Win Gatchalian, the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, has asked the Department of Energy to create contingency plans in the event of an export restriction, including looking for other sources.

Source : Al Jazeera Media Network

(ai/mtvn)

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