Indonesia’s Pertamina Plans More Biofuel Products, Ethanol Imports in 2024

Indonesian state energy company Pertamina (PERTM.UL) plans in 2024 to mix more of its gasoline products with ethanol in a bid to offer alternative fuels to the public, its chief executive said in August. 

The company will mix its 90-octane gasoline, Indonesia’s most widely used fuel product under the brand Pertalite, with 7% ethanol, which will improve the quality of the fuel, Nicke Widyawati told a parliamentary hearing. 

Pertamina will also increase the ethanol blend in its other fuel product to 8% from 5%. That fuel, called Pertamax Green 95, is currently only offered at 17 fuel stations in Jakarta and Surabaya, Indonesia’s two biggest cities. 

Pertamina will import the ethanol due to limited domestic production of the biofuel, made from sugar molasses. 

Current domestic output of fuel-grade ethanol is estimated at around 63,000 kilolitre per year. Pertamina did not provide an estimate for how much it will seek to import. 

“We are still importing gasoline, so we are just replacing some gasoline imports with ethanol, which is better in terms of emissions,” Nicke said. 

Pertamina spokesperson Fadjar Djoko Santoso said the company has not decided how many of Pertamina’s petrol stations will distribute the biofuel products next year. 

It also remains unclear if the plan will impact Indonesia’s fuel subsidies. The government currently subsidises Pertalite sales to keep prices steady at 10,000 rupiah (65.6 U.S. cents) a litre. Nicke said Pertamina has not yet discussed the issue of subsidies with the government. 

Meanwhile, President Joko Widodo aims to plant 700,000 hectares with sugarcane to increase sugar output, which Nicke said could help produce 1.2 million kilolitres of ethanol for fuel.