Asia, Energy, News, Renewable

European Expertise to Boost Indonesia’s Geothermal Energy Sector

Interview with I Ketut Sujata (PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy, Jakarta, Indonesia)
PHOSPHATE-PRICE has spoken to I Ketut Sujata who is a Reservoir Manager at PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy about his company’s strategy to team up with world’s leading experts in geothermal energy with the aim to increase Indonesia’s capacity to tap its vast geothermal sources.
Indonesia reportedly holds an estimated 40 percent of the world’s geothermal energy reserves, but currently only 1.9 percent of the country’s energy come from geothermal sources. The Indonesian government has declared its commitment to build its industry into a world leader based on that vast untapped potential (an estimated 29,000 MW) and has set targets including 40 new geothermal plants by 2014. Pertamina (‘Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak dan Gas Bumi Negara’, literally ‘State Oil and Natural Gas Mining Company’) is an Indonesian state-owned oil natural gas corporation based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

PHOSPHATE-PRICE: Can you briefly introduce your company, Pertamina Geothermal Energy, to our readers.
Sujata: Pertamina Geothermal Energy, as a subsidiary of Pertamina company, was founded 2006. We carry out, with a mandate from the government of Indonesia, geothermal exploration and exploitation in 15 Geothermal Business Working Areas in many parts of Indonesia. Our main objective is to provide energy without pollution – a new era for geothermal energy came with the inauguration of Kamojang Geothermal Field in 1983. On the island of Sumatra, Pertamina GE started to operate Monoblock 2 MW in Sibayak-Brastagih as the first Power Plant in August 2001.
PHOSPHATE-PRICE: Does PT Pertamina still enjoy the monopoly in the market as it did for many decades?
Sujata: Through the Presidential Decree, the government revoked the previous decree and enforced Law. 27/2003 on geothermal energy, where PT Pertamina no longer has a monopoly in the geothermal energy business – now we have to compete with a number of other geothermal businesses in Indonesia.
PHOSPHATE-PRICE: Pertamina Geothermal Energy needs to team up with world’s leading companies in the field if it wants to enhance its expertise to meet the Indonesian government’s target which includes the construction of 40 new geothermal plants by the end of this year. What is your company’s strategy in this regard?
Sujata: Pertamina Geothermal has some projects with European companies, one company from Italy and also Iceland. Pertamina Geothermal has entered into a joint-venture with these European companies which will help it develop its human resources – more specifically, Pertamina runs joint projects with Iceland that are designed to enhance our expertise in the geothermal energy. We know that Iceland and other European countries have highly advanced technology. Now, Pertamina Geothermal wants to develop quickly the geothermal energy sector in Indonesia – that is why we need a partner in Europe that has the expertise, technological prowess and can bring investment to Indonesia. This is why these links with Europe are important for Pertamina.
PHOSPHATE-PRICE: How has the economic crisis in Europe affected your joint-venture plans with the European companies?
Sujata: I think Europe is still an important economic player – it is still strong economically. Even though many European countries have been affected by the crisis, we believe that they will quickly recover. This is why Pertamina Geothermal should partner up with more European companies to help Pertamina to accelerate the development of the geothermal energy in my country. Indonesia knows that economic development depends on the quality of a country’s human resources. This is why Indonesia believes that many countries in Europe, even though they now face an economic crisis, because of the high-quality of their human resources, the economic recovery will be quick.
PHOSPHATE-PRICE:  What are some of the main projects that Pertamina Geothermal Energy has recently realized?
Sujata: We are currently working on the implementation of eight geothermal energy development projects of a combined geothermal power generation capacity of up to 685 MW, including in South Sumatra, West Java and North Sulawesi. The overall investment for these projects is estimated at US$2.29 billion. This summer, Pertamina has started construction for the Kamojang Unit 5 in East Java which is expected to be completed by August 2015. Currently, Pertamina plans to increase its power generation capacity to 2,300 MW by 2025, which amount to about 27 percent of the 8,600 MW geothermal power generation capacity in Indonesia, as planned by the government.

About the Author

I Ketut Sujata

I Ketut Sujata is a Reservoir Manager at PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He studied Reservoir Engineering at Auckland University in New Zealand.