* 18 out of 37 ships secure energy ministry verification
* Govt says miners must meet local sales obligation
* Nearly 500 smaller miners yet to meet domestic requirement
* 47 miners have surpassed domestic requirement -minister
(Adds 18 vessels verification)
JAKARTA, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Indonesia said on Thursday it
would allow 37 vessels loaded with coal to depart, in the
strongest sign yet that the world's biggest thermal coal
exporter is relaxing its ban on shipments.
A senior cabinet minister said in a statement the ban
implemented on Jan. 1 had been eased for miners that have met a
requirement to sell a portion of their output for local power
generation, after the state utility procured enough coal to
ensure 15 days of operation.
"I request that this is supervised closely so this also
becomes a moment for us to improve domestic governance,"
Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs Luhut
Pandjaitan said in the statement.
The 37 vessels included 14 ships whose clearance was
announced earlier in the week.
Later on Thursday, 18 of the vessels, carrying around 1.3
million tonnes of coal, secured energy ministry verification,
which is needed for a departure permit, according to a document
reviewed by Reuters.
The 18 vessels, the document said, were carrying coals from
companies that had fulfilled their Domestic Market Obligation
(DMO), under which miners are required to sell 25% of output to
local buyers with a price cap at $70 per tonne for power plants.
Among the companies were units of Adaro Energy,
Indika Energy and Golden Energy Mines, the
Indonesia set the export ban after state power company
Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) reported critically low coal
stocks at power plants and said Indonesia was on the brink of
widespread power outages. The ban sent shockwaves through global
energy markets, especially in Indonesia's largest coal
customers, including Japan and South Korea.
Indonesian authorities blamed its coal supply crisis on
miners failing to meet their DMO.
There were about 120 vessels either loading or waiting to
load off Indonesian's coal ports in Kalimantan on the island of
Borneo on Wednesday, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.
"We recognise that allowing loaded ships to depart is a
small step in easing and progress needs to be made towards
lifting the export ban," research group CreditSights said.
"Indonesia's government will monitor DMO compliance every
month, which we think will help to avoid the abrupt imposition
of coal export bans in the future," it said in a note.
MINERS FACE FINES
In a parliamentary hearing, Energy minister Arifin Tasrif
was asked about the DMO implementation and export ban, while a
number of lawmakers called for greater transparency over DMO
"The plan of easing the coal export ban is taking place and
will continue to be evaluated and we will ensure that the
vessels that have been allowed to export are those which have
fulfilled the DMO," Arifin said.
The maritime and investment ministry said in its statement
that mining companies that had met their sales contract with PLN
and 100% of their DMO requirements for 2021 would be allowed to
Without naming the companies, Arifin said there were 47
miners that had surpassed their DMO requirement and 32 miners
that had fulfilled between 75% to 100% of their domestic
Miners that had not fulfilled their PLN contracts and DMO
would face fines, he added.
Citi in a research note on Jan. 5 estimated around 490 out
of 631 coal miners in the country had not yet fulfilled their
DMO obligations. These 490 coal miners represent about 35%-40%
of Indonesia's total production, it said.
Indonesia's two largest coal groups, PT Bumi Resources
and Adaro Energy, as well as state coal miner Bukit
Asam, were among companies that said in stock exchange
filings they had met DMO requirements.
(Reporting by Bernadette Christina and Fransiska Nangoy
Editing by Richard Pullin, Tom Hogue and Mark Potter)