Indonesia will offer 6 million hectares to local and foreign investors to develop plantations for biofuel which would involve a total investment of approximately US$20 billion (US$1=RM3.65), its Energy and Natural Resources Minister Dr Purnomo Yusgiantoro said.
“The doors are opened not only for domestic use but also for the export as worldwide biofuel demand now is increasing because of high oil prices,” he told reporters after the Kuala Lumpur Business Club Roundtable Session.
Also present at the session were Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Boediono and Trade Minister Mari Pangestu.
He said the current increase in the oil prices had made Indonesia realised the need to prepare for alternative energy like biofuel.
“Indonesia is learning. Our heavy subsidy has pushed us to use oil products intensively. We realise this is not right and we are going to substitute them with alternative energy like biofuel,” he said.
Purnomo said Indonesia hoped the oil price would return to its normal level of between US$50-US$60 per barrel from the current US$70-US$75.
“We hope the West Asian problems will be resolved soon so that we can see the oil price back to the normal situation,” he said.
He said at present a few Malaysian companies like Genting Bhd, Petroliam Nasional Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd, were keen to invest in the biofuel sector.
“However, the opportunity is only for upstream activities as we have decided to give Pertamina, the state-oil company, monopoly in the downstream activities.
Earlier, Genting’s chairman/president/chief executive, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, said the company was keen to invest in the biofuel sector but more towards the field of green management.
“Green energy is not only renewable it will help solve to a certain extent, the environmental problems. If we can get involve in the biofuel industry, that is enough to keep us busy for a long time,” he said.
To date, the group is already present in Indonesia through its oil and gas division.
Source: Bernama.com Aug. 04, 2006.