THE Department of Energy (DoE) said that the Philippines has received assurances from Indonesia of continued access to the latter’s coal exports.

“Indonesia reiterated to us its assurance that the Philippines will get a continued supply for coal-fired power plants,” Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla told reporters last week.

The commitment was made after the 41st ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting hosted by Indonesia in August.

The Philippines imports 80% of the coal needed by its coal-fired power plants, Mr. Lotilla said, with Indonesia the top source country.

The DoE estimated that the Philippines imported 31.24 metric tons (MT) of coal in 2021, up from 29.52 MT in 2020.

In January last year, Indonesia imposed a month-long ban on coal exports after its state power utility announced low stockpiles of coal at Indonesian power plants.

“They had a two-tiered pricing system where the prices for domestic use of coal was much lower than the export price. So, Indonesian miners (ended up selling) to the international market, the export market,” Mr. Lotilla said.

“It reached a point that they were running out of supply for their domestic coal-fired power plants and that’s why they had to impose a moratorium,” he added.

Mr. Lotilla said the Philippines and Indonesia have agreed to discuss an “emergency response or assistance” mechanism in case supply constraints arise again, in their capacity as members of the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) aggrupation.

“In other words, for a BIMP-EAGA member like the Philippines that is importing coal from Indonesia, then we can have arrangements whenever there are constraints,” he said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera