Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan stated that greater certainty will be gained on the government’s plan to stop liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports at a meeting with President Joko Widodo.

When met after the signing of the Implementing Arrangement (IA) of UK PACT Carbon Pricing here on Monday, Pandjaitan noted that the halting of exports will apply to contracts that have been completed.

"Later, when the contracts have been completed, we will not renew them, but we will wait for a meeting with the president," he remarked.

According to the minister, LNG export is being stopped, so that gas in the country can be processed first.

Nevertheless, he ensured that the government would continue to respect the contracts that had been signed. Thus, the export ban would only apply to new contracts.

The minister could not confirm as to when the plan to stop LNG exports would be carried out, as gas sales and purchase contracts have different tenors.

He only highlighted that the government is focusing on encouraging downstreaming in all sectors, including gas.

He further revealed that the government would consider not extending gas export contracts in the future.

Earlier, Pandjaitan stated that the government would ban LNG exports in order to build the domestic industry.

The minister highlighted the government's keenness to use natural gas supply for meeting domestic needs as currently, the demand for production of chemicals, from methanol to petrochemicals is high.

The minister also noted that Indonesia is currently still importing petrochemicals. To this end, the government is encouraging development of the petrochemical industry in North Kalimantan.

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Translator: Ade Irma, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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