Indonesia to help make up Japan’s energy shortfall
Japan’s government has requested an increase in energy exports from Indonesia, namely crude oil and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), to help Japan deal with severe energy shortages resulting from recent disasters. Already a major consumer of Indonesia’s energy, Japan is in desperate need of more supply to aid reconstruction operations and make up a drastic shortfall in electricity from the loss of nuclear power plants in Fukushima. Most of Japan, including the capital Tokyo, is enduring shortages and scheduled blackouts. Crews at the Fukushima plant are still struggling to keep radioactive fuel from causing a more serious catastrophe.
Indonesia is the world’s third largest LNG exporter (after Qatar and Malaysia) and the world’s largest exporter of thermal coal for power plants. 95% of Indonesia’s LNG comes from Arun in Aceh province and Bontang in East Kalimantan. A spokesman from BPMigas said the Bontang plant currently has excess capacity, with 20 cargoes still unsold, that could be used to satisfy Japan’s increased demand.
Effects on Indonesian nuclear industry
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s own plans to expand its nuclear power capacity have come under scrutiny, given their geographic susceptibility to the kind of earthquake that led to the Japanese situation. A possible location for a new plant, due to come online in 2022, is Bangka Island to the east of Sumatra. National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan) chief Hudi Hastowo said any Indonesian plant would meet international safety criteria and would ‘certainly’ use more sophisticated technology than Japan’s 40 year old plants at Fukushima.
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