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Pertamina may take part in DME plant

Indonesian state oil firm PT Pertamina may participate in an estimated US$1.9 billion dimethyl ether (DME) project that will be built by a private domestic firm, a senior company official said. DME is a methanol derivative with properties similar to liquefied petroleum gas, although it is said to be cleaner burning. Private company PT Arrtu Mega Energie will build the DME plant in Riau province on Sumatra Island. The project will need about five to six million tons of coal a year as feedstock. Coal will be sourced from PT Bukit Asam. Indonesia is seeking alternative energy sources such as coal and LPG to meet rising demand from households and power plants and to reduce consumption of expensive crude oil. (November 18, 2008)