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Monday, June 29, 2020

Completing the Pertamina Refinery Project Requires Investors

Refinery investment reaches the US $ 40 billion

PT Pertamina (Persero) needs partners in funding all fuel refinery projects targeted for completion in 2026-2027. This is because the company's finances are unable to finance the investment needs of the refinery project, which is estimated at the US $ 48 billion.

Director of PT Pertamina International Refinery Ignatius Tallulembang said, as the Processing and Petrochemical Subholding of Pertamina, it was targeting to become the best processing and petrochemical company in the Southeast Asia region. 

    This was achieved by increasing Pertamina's refinery capacity to 1.8 million barrels per day (BPD) or the largest in the region. Investment needs to increase the capacity of the refinery from the current 1 million BPD to 1.8 million BPD, he said, reached the US $ 48-50 billion.

"If you use Pertamina's own funds, of course, you can't. So in building a refinery, Pertamina really needs a partner. Because in addition to funding shares, risk-sharing can be shared, "he said.

Tallulembang explained, in the partnership the company will also continue to issue cash. However, financing refinery projects will also be borne by partners. Pertamina opened two partnership schemes, namely strategic partners (strategic investors) and financial (financial investors).

"The point is that this strategic investor is a well-known oil and gas company and has built refineries. Usually, they are involved from the start, they will bring technology and expertise. They also usually have special requirements, for example offering crude oil or joint marketing, "he explained.

Furthermore, financial partners are usually only involved in funding. According to Tallulembang, the financial partners did not intervene too much on the project and gave Pertamina the flexibility to run its business.

"The important thing is the profit we will share [with financial partners] when dividend distribution," he said.

Rosneft Oil Company Russia

So far, Pertamina has partnered with Rosneft Oil Company as a strategic partner in the Tuban Refinery Project in East Java Province. Then, Pertamina has partnered with K-Sure and Exim Bank of South Korea as financial partners and is exploring similar cooperation with Mubadala Investment Company.

But the company is also still looking for partners to complete the Bontang Refinery Project in East Kalimantan Province and Cilacap Refinery in Central Java Province. 

    Pertamina was assigned by the government to work on the Balongan Refinery Project in West Java Province, Balikpapan Refinery in East Kalimantan, Bontang Refinery also in East Kalimantan, Cilacap Refinery in Central Java, and Tuban Refinery in East Java.

After the entire refinery project is completed in 2026-2027, in addition to the processing capacity increasing to 1.8 million BPD, the refinery will also produce 1.5 million BPD of fuel and 8,600-kilo tons of petrochemical products per annum.

Private Role

Not only the partnership scheme, Tallulembang added that the development of national refineries can also be done by involving the private sector or through the Cooperation between the Government and Business Entity (KPBU). This scheme has been regulated in a law, where private business entities can work together to build refineries with Pertamina as the person in charge.

"Unfortunately this scheme has not yet been used even though it is very possible, and Pertamina can take products from refineries built. The government as an off-taker when domestic energy demand is still high is still needed, "he said.

The Director of Oil and Gas Engineering and Environment of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Soerjaningsih revealed, since 2001, many national private companies have obtained permits to build fuel refineries. However, the huge investment costs, high technology, land issues, crude oil supply, and product off-takers are constraints so that not even one refinery has been realized.

In the assignment of refinery construction to Pertamina, the government opened up opportunities for cooperation for domestic and foreign companies.

"So Pertamina can partner with private entities, domestic and foreign, it is possible for that. We also provide many facilities, both for the assignment scheme and the PPP, "said Soerjaningsih.

Funding facilities include state capital participation (PMN), retained earnings, government loans, bond issuance, and loans with government guarantees. While the fiscal incentives include a 100% Tax Holiday, taxes in the framework of imports, as well as income tax facilities.

Chairman of the Association of Oil and Gas Companies (Aspermigas) John S Karamoy said many national private entrepreneurs were interested in building small-capacity refineries or mini-refineries. 

   However, he admitted that the refinery development plan met with many obstacles, one of which was the certainty of off-takers or buyers of refinery products. This can be overcome if the private refinery business gets a processing deal or a processing agreement from Pertamina.

"Private refineries that will be built can also be accelerated, which is important to get a processing deal, namely this refinery will process only where Pertamina's ready-to-sell products and refinery owners only get processing fees [processing fees]," he explained.

He said he was pushing for plans to build mini refineries in eight clusters again. Because the plan was announced by the government a few years ago, but it hasn't started yet. These eight clusters are North Sumatra, Maluku Long Strait, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, South Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, and Maluku.

"We, together with Regionally Owned Enterprises, want to realize and hope that the eight units can be completed in 2027," said John.

Investor Daily, Page-10, Monday, June 29, 2020

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