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Pertamina plans to start making bioethanol from sugarcane, cassava

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Indonesian state energy firm Pertamina is seen in Jakarta January 26, 2011. REUTERS/Supri

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Indonesian state energy firm Pertamina is seen in Jakarta January 26, 2011. REUTERS/Supri

KUALA LUMPUR :Indonesian state energy company PT Pertamina plans to begin producing bioethanol from sugarcane and cassava this year and has also begun production of green hydrogen using geothermal energy, its CEO told a conference on Wednesday.

Indonesia, the world's biggest palm oil biodiesel user, has been working to introduce bioethanol mandates for gasoline to further cut fuel imports and carbon emissions, but securing adequate feedstock is a hurdle.

“This year, we will launch our new product, bioethanol - sugarcane based, cassava based. (There is) a lot of feedstock that can be used. Palm oil is for biodiesel, sugarcane and cassava for ethanol," Pertamina CEO Nicke Widyawati told a conference.

The Southeast Asian country's biodiesel mandates have cut billions of dollars from its diesel import bills.

Pertamina said last year that it aims to start a trial of hydrogen production in 2023 at a geothermal plant in Ulubelu on Sumatra island to produce 100 kg (220 lb) of hydrogen per day.

"Indonesia is blessed with huge potential of geothermal, around 27GW (gigawatts), and now out of 27, less than 10per cent is operated to become electricity," Widyawati said.

"We have (an) ambitious target to double or triple the capacity in five to seven years. Not just for electricity but geothermal also (to) produce green hydrogen," she told the conference, adding that hydrogen production has begun already.

Widyawati also repeated the company's earlier denials that it had bought any crude oil from Russia, which has been sanctioned by the West.

Ship-tracking data has shown Russian oil discharging in Indonesia, although it is common for such cargoes to be transferred to other ships for delivery elsewhere.

(Reporting by Emily Chow and Muyu Xu; Writing by Tony Munroe; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Stephen Coates and Kim Coghill)

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