Pertamina Developing CPO-Based Green Refineries

JAKARTA — The global energy demand is predicted to be increasingly agglomerating on the renewable energy sources. To support the energy transition, the state-owned oil-gas company PT Pertamina (Persero) is developing two bio-refineries that will be fed with 100 percent crude palm oil (CPO) in Plaju, South Sumatra and in Cilacap, Central Java.

Ignatius Tallulembang, president director of PT Kilang Pertamina Internasional, the refinery and petrochemical sub holding company of Pertamina Group, said recently that it is aimed to support the government’s policy to develop the renewable energy sources which are environmentally friendly.

“The development of our bio-refineries is in line with the government’s plan to produce bioenergy in Indonesia based on the national energy master plan (RUEN), which is especially concerned with the national energy mix,” Ignatius said during an interview with CNBC  Indonesia recently.

He noted that its green refinery plant in Plaju will have a production capacity of 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) of biofuel, which will need around 1.0 million tons of CPO per year. The Cilacap bio-refinery phase-1 is targeted to produce 3,000 bpd of biofuel by utilizing the refined, bleached and deodorized palm oil (RBDPO) or equivalent to 150,000 tons of RBDPO per year, and its phase-2 will have a double capacity of 6,000 bpd or equivalent to 300,000 tons per year.

He pointed out that Pertamina had also managed to make a breakthrough through its production test of green diesel (D100) at the capacity of 1,000 barrels per day in its Dumai refinery plant in Riau province last July 2020. The D100 is produced by utilizing the Indonesian made catalyst, nationally known Katalis Merah Putih, and the refined, bleached and deodorized palm oil (RBDPO) which is 100 percent produced from crude palm oil (CPO).

PT Pertamina, PT Pupuk Kujang, and PT Rekacipta Inovasi ITB (owned by Bandung Institute of Technology – ITB) have signed an agreement recently to set up a joint venture company named PT Katalis Sinergi Indonesia (KSI), which will produce the Indonesian made catalyst called “Katalis Merah Putih”.

“It reflects the spirit of Pertamina to realize the Nawacita, a nine-point program initiated by President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), which includes maximizing the local resources in strengthening national energy resilience, self-sufficiency and sovereignty,” he said.

The D100 can also be used to produce the biodiesel 40 percent or B40 this year (2021). B40 will be the continuation of the biodiesel 30 percent (B30), which has been implemented since last year (2020). The composition of B40 will be 30 percent fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) and 10 percent D100, and the rest diesel fuel.

Previously, Economic Coordinating Minister Airlangga Hartarto said that the government is still committed to continuing the mandatory B40 program, despite being threatened by Covid-19 pandemic. He said the reason behind the commitment is the fact that tens millions of oil palm smallholders depend on the CPO industry.

“The mandatory program needs the commitment of all stakeholders, including Pertamina and other oil-gas producers. It is necessary to support around 17 million of our smallholders who rely on the palm oil industry. Actually, it has not only brought up multiplier effect in the economic sector, but also in other sectors that will improve the public welfare and empower the people,” Airlangga noted.

The CPO-based bio-refineries are also included into the national strategic projects, which are stipulated byPresident Joko Widodo (Jokowi) through the presidential regulation (Perpres) No.109/2020.  (*)

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