Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi reiterated its appeal to Indonesia to lift its coal export ban, saying the policy will be detrimental to economies heavily reliant on the fuel for power generation.
The country’s largest trade group, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) warned yesterday of looming high energy costs following the decision of the Indonesian government to ban coal exports.
Newly-installed PCCI president George Barcelon called on the government to move quickly to secure coal supply to meet the rising demand with the recovering economy and to diversify the energy supply mix towards the eventual reduction of the country’s dependence on coal.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi reiterated his appeal to Indonesia to lift its coal export ban, saying the policy will be detrimental to economies heavily reliant on the fuel for power generation.
The world’s biggest coal exporter, Indonesia, suspended exports on 1 January after its state power utility reported dangerously low inventory levels of the fuel at its power stations.
The Philippines joined Japan and South Korea in appealing for the lifting of the ban.
Cusi wrote through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to Indonesia’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Arifin Tasrif for a reconsideration of the ban.
Cusi had asked the DFA to intercede and appeal on behalf of the Philippines through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) cooperation mechanism.
The ban had pushed coal prices in China and Australia higher last week, while dozens of vessels slated to carry coal to key buyers such as Japan, China, South Korea and India have been stranded off Kalimantan.
“Indonesia’s action could heavily impact on the supply and cost of electricity in the country,” Barcelon said noting that power generated by coal comprises 60 percent of the country’s power mix.
Further, Barcelon said the ban has sent global prices of coal higher in the northern hemisphere due to the winter months.
“We could easily see this happening in our country in the summertime with few to zero alternatives in sight, unless Indonesia listens to the pleas of coal-importing countries,” Barcelon added
Based on records obtained by the PCCI, the country’s coal imports from Indonesia accounted for 96.88 percent of total purchases of the fuel.