Pertamina to cover gasoline shortfalls with imports

The Indonesian government has asked state oil firm Pertamina to begin importing gasoline from Malaysia, Singapore, and China to cover a shortfall in the domestic market, caused by a 10% decline in output from local refineries.


JAKARTA�The Indonesian government has asked state oil firm Pertamina to begin importing gasoline from Malaysia, Singapore, and China to cover a shortfall in the domestic market, caused by a 10% decline in output from local refineries.

Mines and Energy Minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told the cabinet that the Balongan refinery is down for repairs and the supply of crude from Kuwait has been disrupted. The refinery, scheduled to restart July 26, uses the Kuwaiti crude, he said, adding that supplies are likely to be disrupted further due to the fire at the emirate's Mina al Ahmadi refinery.

The minister disclosed that there is a critical shortage of gasoline in East Java and Bali, as the Balongan refinery had supplied the two markets with 4 million l./day. Bambang said he also had received reports of gasoline hoarding and stockpiling.

Bambang also noted tighter supplies of gasoline from Singapore refineries, which send some supplies to the US. He described the gasoline shortage as a crisis that will worsen if local demand is not met through imports.

Pertamina has cut down its regular stockholding to 18 days from 23 days following concerns that the shortage could spread to other major cities in the country, including Sumatra, where Pertamina's Cilacap refinery has been just barely meeting daily needs.

Bambang said he had instructed Pertamina to begin importing gasoline immediately.

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