Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government has decided to keep certain natural gas prices (HGBT) or cheap gas prices below US$6 per MMBTU (one million British thermal units) for seven industrial groups. The decision was conveyed by Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, after an internal meeting with President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), which discussed the sustainability of the HGBT policy, at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Monday.

"We decided to continue HGBT in the existing sectors, which now have amounted to seven sectors," Hartarto informed.

The seven industrial groups comprise the fertilizer, petrochemical, oleochemical, steel, ceramic, glass, and rubber glove industries.

Regarding the proposal for the expansion of HGBT to all industrial sectors, he said that it is still under review.

During the meeting, the government also asked state-owned oil company PT Pertamina to design and create gas infrastructure, especially for the regasification of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Hartarto added.

"Permission and assignment will be given to Pertamina to create gas infrastructure, especially for LNG regasification. Meanwhile, other industrial areas are also allowed to create LNG regasification plus the ability to procure LNG from abroad," the minister said.

The government has implemented the HGBT policy of US$6 per MMBTU since 2020 for seven industrial groups.

Based on the Decree of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Republic of Indonesia Number 91.K/MG.01/MEM.M/2023 concerning Certain Natural Gas Users and Certain Natural Gas Prices in the Industrial Sector, the HGBT policy will end on December 31, 2024.

Meanwhile, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM), Arifin Tasrif, last May, said that the HGBT policy will be continued.

In addition, Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said that the expansion of HGBT to all industrial sectors would not burden the state budget and reduce state revenues since the need for industrial gas is only 30 percent of the total national gas supply.

Therefore, his ministry has requested that the HGBT Program be expanded to all 24 sub-sectors of the manufacturing industry.

Kartasasmita said that the HGBT program has had a triple impact on the industry: in investment, exports, and employment.

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Translator: Benardy Ferdiansyah, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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