An article by Raras Chayafitri, The Jakarta Post.

The amount of biodiesel blended into diesel fuel during the January-March period was nowhere near the quarterly target as poor infrastructure and a prolonged procurement tender had gotten in the way.

Only 350,000 kiloliters of biodiesel were blended into diesel fuel during that period — far below a quarter of the government’s full-year target of 4 million kl, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry director for bioenergy Dadan Kusdiana said on Monday.

“That number is equal to savings of US$237 million in foreign exchange reserves,” Dadan said.

The government began requiring diesel for industry and transportation to contain 10 percent biofuel in September last year as part of an attempt to reduce oil imports and ultimately reduce the gap in the country’s current account.

Last year, the mandatory biodiesel blending requirement helped lower diesel fuel imports by 1.05 million kl worth $831 million.

This year’s total will include the blending of 1.64 million kl of biodiesel into subsidized diesel fuel, 808,000 kl into diesel fuel for power generation and 1.57 million kl into diesel fuel for industrial use.

The total blending is expected to save up to $3.1 billion in the country’s foreign exchange reserves this year.

The ministry’s renewable energy director general Rida Mulyana attributed the low realization of biodiesel usage to delayed biodiesel procurement tenders by PT Pertamina and PT PLN as well as a lack of blending facilities particularly in the eastern part of Indonesia.

“Tenders are targeted to be completed in May or June so that we can get back on track to achieve the target for the second half,” he said.

Rida admitted that the government would likely miss the target of blending 4 million kl of biodiesel this year, given no significant infrastructure and procurement progress taking place in the first six months.

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