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Jakarta Post

Stakeholders question setback in gas conversion

  • Sita W. Dewi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, August 6, 2015   /  09:36 am

Stakeholders involved with compressed natural gas (CNG) have questioned the city administration'€™s move to stop procuring CNG-based buses, saying that it is counterproductive to the government'€™s program to convert all public transportation to run on CNG.

'€œThe [gas] reserve is available, but we don'€™t have the consumers,'€ Indonesia Association of Compressed Natural Gas Businesses (APCNGI) chairman Robbi Sukardi said during a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The 2007 Gubernatorial Regulation on the use of natural gas for public transportation and vehicles and the 1994 gubernatorial letter ordering fuel stations to prioritize the development of gas-fuel dispenser facilities pushed for a conversion to gas. Bylaw No. 2/2005 on air pollution control also requires that all official city and public transportation vehicles use CNG. The policies, however, lack implementation.

Governor Basuki '€œAhok'€ Tjahaja Purnama recently allowed the procurement of Transjakarta buses that use diesel fuel as a short-term solution to a bus shortage, reasoning that the production of CNG buses required longer time than diesel buses. He also said that the latest diesel buses were more advanced and, thus, produce fewer emissions.

Danny Praditya, the president director of PT Gagas Energi Indonesia, a subsidiary of Jakarta-listed gas distributor PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (PGN) overseeing CNG for transportation, lamented the move, saying that the quality of diesel fuel available in the local market did not yet match the machine.

'€œI understand that the city administration'€™s concern was to expand the bus fleet as soon as possible. However, such a move will be a step back [...] what we need to find is the core problem,'€ Danny said.

He cited the lack of supporting infrastructure, such as CNG stations, as among the key factors that hamper the gas conversion program.

The development of CNG stations, he said, faced a number of challenges and pointed to land acquisition as being one of them. '€œWe need support from both the regional administration and the central government because [gas conversion] is the President'€™s program, so anyone who'€™s against the program is actually against the government,'€ Danny said.

He also encouraged the city administration to renew its commitment to push for gas conversion.

According to Danny, Jakarta consumes an equivalent of 6,000 kiloliters of CNG every month, mostly by public transportation vehicles, such as CNG bajaj and buses.

Robbi said that CNG players targeted public transportation as the strategy made it easier to design business plans. '€œPublic transportation pools have solid data on routes, numbers of vehicles and energy consumption, so it will be easier for [companies] to determine locations to build gas filling stations and supply depots, for example,'€ he said.

PT Transjakarta president director ANS Kosasih pointed out that emissions or the price of the energy used were not the company'€™s main considerations.

'€œWe did not decide to buy diesel buses by ourselves, but we worked together with operators, the ones who bought the buses. That is the fastest way to expand the fleet at the moment,'€ he said, emphasizing that the company still aimed to procure CNG buses in the future.

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