I recently returned from another trip to Jakarta, the third time in as many months given the significant progress being made in the country.  The Celanese team has kicked off the work with Pertamina as defined in our Joint Statement of Cooperation and it was rewarding to see the progress they have achieved.  As a reminder, Celanese announced its intention to jointly develop projects with Pertamina, the leading state owned oil and gas company in Indonesia, to convert local coal resources to ethanol using Celanese’s TCX® ethanol technology for use as a transportation fuel in the country.  While in Indonesia, I had the opportunity to meet with the US Ambassador to Indonesia, Scot Marciel, at the Ambassador’s residence.  The Embassy has been very supportive of our efforts and has provided instrumental insight and support into the opportunity.

Ambassador Marciel hosted a reception with members of “Commission VII” of the Indonesian Parliament to discuss the fuel ethanol project between Celanese and Pertamina.  Commission VII is a standing committee of Parliament with oversight responsibility of energy, utilities and related issues.  Evita Legowo, director general of oil and gas for Indonesia’s energy and mineral resources ministry, known as ESDM, highlighted the government’s strong support of the project.  The strong support comes from the many benefits the TCX® technology can provide to Indonesia; reducing required government gasoline subsidies that currently stand at $12B annually, utilization of Indonesia’s coal and converting into clean liquid fuel, further investment in the country for continued economic development, and improving air quality, which can be achieved with E10 blends.

Karen Agustiawan, president and CEO of Pertamina, also presented to Commission VII.  The development of alternative sources of energy is critical to Pertamina and Karen echoed both the Ambassador’s and Evita’s comments on the tremendous opportunity the project creates for Indonesia and for Pertamina.  In 2011, Forbes named her first on its list of “Asia’s 50 Power Businesswomen” and it was clear why she received that title.  She has been a leading influence for this project inside of Pertamina.

For Celanese, Steven Sterin, CFO and president Advanced Fuel Technologies shared more details on the project with the Commission. It was clear from the questions that the Commission understood the importance of reducing the government’s subsidies for transportation fuel and how technologies like Celanese TCX can help.  While we are just starting the joint work with Pertamina and there are still many questions to be answered, it was great to see the level of support we have in Indonesia.