Choosing between decarbonisation or NRE is not an option in the quest for zero carbon emission

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Arifin Tasrif with Pertamina President Director, Nicke Widyawati witnessed the signing of the Joint Study Agreement CO2 Injection for Enhanced Oil Recovery (CCUS-EOR) in the Jatibarang Field between Pertamina PEP and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (Jogmec) on the sidelines of the Energy Transition Ministerial Meeting (ETMM) in Nusa Dua, Bali, Tuesday (30/8). (Photo: Hartatik)

by: Hartatik

Nusa Dua, Bali – As an energy company, Pertamina holds an important role in leading the transition of the energy industry. The energy crisis in Europe as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine made Pertamina take realistic steps towards a green energy transition.

Not wanting to follow the failure of European countries to be completely free from fossil energy, the Government of Indonesia prefers to maintain energy security. Pertamina’s President Director, Nicke Widyawati, emphasised that neither decarbonization nor the development of new and renewable energy (NRE) during this energy transition period was an either-or option, since energy production is still dominated by fossil energy.

She said that both decarbonization or NRE must be implemented. “There cannot be only one (path) leading. Net zero emission means that carbon emitters exist, that’s okay. But there are programs to reduce emissions,” Widyawati said on the sidelines of the B20 event at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Nusa Dua, Bali, at the end of August. The Business 20 (B20) is the official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community.

Widyawati said the transition from fossil energy to NRE should not sacrifice energy security and energy accessibility. According to the Indonesian Energy Law, the national energy security must be secured in accordance with the people’s needs, accessible and affordable to all people.

For this reason, the commitment to start energy transition must be included in the policy framework. Not only do regulators play a role, but the business world also needs to be encouraged to participate. “In this B20 forum there are 140 task force members who discuss how we can carry on with the energy transition without disturbing energy security,” she said.

Pertamina’s NRE products are still below 3 percent of the NRE mix target of 29% in 2025 and 31% in 2050. However, this achievement will be increased to 17% in 2030, said Widyawati. Pertamina allocates around 14% of the total capital expenditure (capex) for NRE development. This amount is claimed to be higher than the allocation from global companies which is only around 9%.

“Indonesia’s energy (proportion) in 2050 from NRE is 30 percent, the rest is from fossils (oil and gas). So Pertamina still has to provide this (fossil energy),” said Widyawati.

The government has committed to achieving a net zero emissions target by 2060. Therefore, Pertamina must carry out a decarbonization program to reduce carbon emissions from 69% of the non-NRE energy mix. Until 2021, Pertamina has succeeded in reducing carbon emissions by 29%, higher than the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) target.

“In 2021 we managed to reduce 7.4 million tons of CO2. … the contribution of methane gas is 5 million. We will continue to increase this, because our target is to reach 29% by 2030,” she said.


To reduce carbon emissions by up to 29%, Widyawati explained that Pertamina has controlled exhaust gases at the refinery and upstream. In the process of energy formation, methane gas is released into the air. One of the initiatives to reduce carbon emissions in its refinery facilities, Pertamina adopted Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (CCUS) technology, as well as a solution to increase oil and gas production during the energy transition period.

“Pertamina has extraordinary assets upstream, and in its heyday it could produce up to 1.5 million barrels of oil per day. But today it’s down. This is a good thing that we have empty reservoirs that can be used to store CO2, (in a process) we call Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage. By injecting water, CO2 that is still attached to the bottom can be lifted up. This is what we are doing in the refineries in Sukowati (Bali) and Jatibarang (Indramayu),” she said.

So what is the potential for all refineries to carry out CCUS? Widyawati explained that the data submitted by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) shows that the total potential storage capacity that can be injected reaches 2 trillion CO2. “We have to admit that this refinery exists and we cannot close it down, but we have to convert it into green products and low carbon products,” she said.

Photo banner: Refinery Development Master Plan (RDMP) project, revitalization of the Balongan refinery phase I has been completed. (Source: Pertamina)

update 17 Sept 2022, 16.19 – adding infographics

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