Construction work has commenced on an USD2.3 billion coal gasification plant in Indonesia to reduce the country’s dependence on imports of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) while optimising its coal resources. The project located in South Sumatra will be developed by PT Bukit Asam in collaboration with United States-based Air Products and Chemicals Incorporated.

Construction is expected to take 30 months and once operational, gas produced will be supplied to PT Pertamina, the state-owned oil and gas company. The facility is expected to create 1.4 tonnes of dimethyl ether (DME) annually from 6 million tonnes of low rank coal, reducing Indonesia’s LPG imports by one million tonnes per year.

Indonesia consumed approximately 7.95 million tonnes of LPG during 2021, out of which about 6.4 million tonnes was imported. The country’s LPG imports are predicted to drop by six times from present levels by 2025, as the government aims to increase coal gasification, under its priority investment list.