Top Five Refineries in Indonesia

The Balikpapan refinery complex. Photo courtesy of Chaz Tumbelaka.

Indonesia currently has six oil refineries and they are all operated by Pertamina, the national oil company of Indonesia.

Here are the top five refineries in Indonesia:

  • Dumai Refinery, officially known as Unit Pengolahan II Dumai
  • Plaju Refinery, officially known as  Unit Pengolahan III Plaju
  • Cilacap Refinery, officially known as Unit Pengolahan IV Cilacap
  • Balikpapan Refinery, officially known as Unit Pengolahan V Balikpapan
  • Balongan Refinery, officially known as Unit Pengolahan VI Balongan

Besides these five refineries, Pertamina operates a small 10,000 BOPD Kasim refinery in Sorong, West Papua.

With a total capacity to process 1,046,700 barrels of crude oil per day, all refineries in Indonesia are currently supplying about 50% of the domestic fuel needs.

In 2019, Indonesia imported 24.7 billion liters of fuel.

To meet its domestic fuel needs, Indonesia intends to produce all the fuels it needs by 2026. It hopes to increase the crude processing capacity to two million barrels per day in 2025 under the ambitious 17 billion dollar Refinery Development Master Plan (RDMP).

Based on the RDMP, the top five refineries will be upgraded to increase their capabilities and capacity. Currently, Pertamina is expanding and upgrading the Cilacap and Balikpapan refineries.

Pertamina also has a plan to build two new refineries: one in Tuban in East Java and one in Bontang in East Kalimantan.

The project to construct the 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day Tuban refinery is currently underway. It is expected to complete in 2026.

Here are the details of the top five refineries.

DUMAI REFINERY

Dumai refinery started operating in 1971 and it is located in Dumai in Sumatera.

The Dumai refinery is designed with a capacity to process 170,000 barrels of crude oil and it supplies Sumatera with fuels such as gasoline, aviation fuel, diesel fuel, kerosene, solvent, green coke, and LPG.

This refinery is unique as it produces the power it needs using the natural gas produced from the surrounding gas fields namely the Grissik field operated by ConocoPhillips, the fields in the Bentu block operated by Mega Energi Persada (PT EMP), and the Jambi Merang gas fields operated by Pertamina Hulu Energi Jambi Merang (PHE Jambi Merang).

By using the natural gas produced from these fields, the Dumai refinery can reduce its fuel cost by 40%.

PLAJU REFINERY

The Plaju refinery and petrochemical complex comprises two old refineries located in the Palembang area in South Sumatera: one in Plaju and another one in Sungei Gerong.

The refinery in Plaju is the oldest existing refinery in Indonesia. It was built in 1904 by BPM (Batavia Petroleum Maatschappy), a predecessor of Shell. Pertamina acquired this refinery from BPM in 1949.

The refinery at Sungei Gerong was built by SVPM (Standard Vacuum Petroleum Maatschappij) 1926. Pertamina acquired this refinery from Stanvac in 1970.

Pertamina integrated these two refineries in 1972 by constructing connecting pipelines and officially called them Unit Pengolahan III Plaju.

The integrated Plaju refinery and petrochemical complex has a combined refining capacity of 118,000 barrels per day. It processes crude oil and intermediate products to produce gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, the B20 biodiesel fuel, aviation fuel, and fuel oil.  

The types of gasoline it produces include the Premium, Pertalite, Pertamax, and Pertamax Racing.

The Plaju refinery also produces petrochemicals such as Polypropylene and PTA.

According to Pertamina, the Plaju refinery and petrochemical complex will see a new stand-alone 20,000 barrels per day “Green Refinery” in 2024 taking advantage of the locally produced crude palm oil (CPO). The new unit will produce green diesel fuel, green aviation fuel, green naphtha and green LPG.

CILACAP REFINERY

The Cilacap refinery is the largest and most integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in Indonesia. With its current refining capacity of 348,000 barrels of crude oil per day, it produces 34% of the total fuel production in Indonesia.

The Cilacap refinery was initially completed in 1976 with a capacity of processing 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day. However, as a strategic refinery due to its location being in Central Java, it has been revamped and expanded several times. 

Today, this Pertamina Unit IV refinery and petrochemical complex consists of three units:

  • Oil Refining Unit #1
  • Oil Refining Unit #2
  • Paraxylene Unit

Oil Refining Unit #1 was completed in 1976 with a capacity of processing 100,000 barrels of oil per day and it was designed to specifically handle crude oil from the Middle East.

This refining unit produces gasoline, lube oil, and asphalt. It underwent debottlenecking in 1998 to increase its refining capacity to 118,000 BOPD.

To meet the increasing demand for fuel, Oil Refining Unit #2 was completed in 1983 with a capacity of 200,000 BOPD. Its capacity was later increased to 230,000 BOPD in 1998.

This second unit is designed to handle both crude oil from the Middle East and Indonesia.

The Paraxylene Unit, completed in 1990, produces petrochemicals such as paraxylene, benzene, raffinate, and heavy aromatic. Some of these products are shipped to the Plaju refinery for further processing.

BALIKPAPAN REFINERY

The famous Balikpapan refinery was completed in 1922 by BPM (Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij), the predecessor of Royal Dutch Shell.  It was built to process the crude oil that BPM had discovered in Balikpapan in East Kalimantan.

The refinery was heavily damaged twice during World War II and subsequently restored. It was later acquired by  Pertamina from BPM in 1949.

The refinery has been expanded and upgraded several times to meet the increasing demand for fuel in the eastern part of Indonesia.

The Balikpapan refinery is the second-largest refinery in Indonesia. At its current crude oil processing capacity of 260,000 barrels, it processes 25% of the total crude oil intake and supplies about 15% of the fuel needs in Indonesia.  

Under the RMDP refinery expansion plan, it is set to become even bigger. It is currently undergoing a massive 5 billion dollar expansion which will increase its processing capacity from 260,000 barrels per day to 360,000 barrels per day.  

Besides increasing its processing capacity, the expansion project is also aimed to improve its crude flexibility and product quality. The refinery will have the capability to produce high-quality Euro V standard fuels.

The Balikpapan refinery expansion includes:

  • A residual fluid catalytic cracker (RFCC) unit with a design capacity of 90,000 barrels per stream per day (BPSD)
  • An LPG sulfur removal unit,
  • A propylene recovery unit
  • An 80,000 BPSD middle distillate hydrotreater.

The project will also upgrade the existing vacuum distillation unit (VDU), crude distillation unit (CDU), hydrocracker unit (HCU), and LPG recovery units to increase the production of Euro V gasoline, diesel fuel, and LPG by 100,000 BPD, 30,000 BPD and 930 tons respectively per day.

Included in the project is the expansion of the crude oil receiving capacity by adding:

  • A single-point mooring system and a pipeline end manifold, capable of handling crude carriers with 320,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT).
  • A 20-inch onshore pipeline from Lawe-Lawe terminal to Panajam terminal.
  • A 52-inch subsea pipeline from the Panajam terminal to the refinery.
  • Two new crude oil storage tanks with a capacity of 100 million barrels.

Balongan Refinery

Located in Indramayu, West Java, the Balongan refinery was completed in 1994. It was revamped in 2003 to increase its processing capacity to 130,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

The Balongan refinery and petrochemical complex is designed to process crude oil from the Duri and Minas fields.

It produces a variety of fuels such as Premium, Pertamax, Pertamax Plus, diesel fuel, kerosene, and LPG. It also produces petrochemicals such as propylene.

This Unit VI refinery of Pertamina is a strategic and vital refinery to Indonesia as it supplies the fuel needs of the nation’s capital city of Jakarta and West Java.

The Balongan refinery prides itself for being the refinery that applies eco-friendly technology and that processes residue into high-quality products.

The refinery experienced a fire incident on 29th March 2021. Four of its storage tanks caught fire.

Kasim Refinery

The 10,000 BPD Kasim refinery is the newest but the smallest refinery of Pertamina.

Located in Sorong in West Papua, Kasim refinery was completed in 1997 to meet the needs for fuels in the most eastern part of Indonesia. It takes advantage of processing the crude oil produced from the nearby fields of Walio and Salawati.


This Pertamina Unit VII refinery is currently operating below its design capacity of 10,000 BOPD. This is due to the declining oil production from the two oil fields.

To make the plant economical to operate, Pertamina will need to increase the crude supply by bringing in crude oil via oil tankers. To do so, it will need to construct four 110,000 barrel storage tanks.

Currently, the Kasim refinery is supplying less than 15% of the fuel needed in Papua and Maluku. It is hoped that Kasim can process 50,000 BOPD in the future.  

This article is adapted by Jamin Djuang from information published by Pertamina and other sources. He is the Chief Training Officer of LDI Training.

Pertamina Dumai Refinery reduces its fuel costs by 40%

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The PLN power plant at Muara Karang, Jakarta.

Pertamina has completed the construction of the 67 km gas pipeline supplying gas to its Unit II Refinery in Dumai. With the commissioning of the 24-inch pipeline on 14 April 2019, the fuel needed to operate the refinery is now supplied by the gas produced from the nearby gas fields.

The gas comes from the following three blocks:

  1. The prolific Grissik field located in the Corridor Block which is operated by ConocoPhillips. The Grissik field produced more than 900 MMSCF of gas per day in 2018. With an area of 2258 square kilometers, the Corridor Block is one of the largest gas blocks in Indonesia. Other very large gas blocks are the Tangguh and the Mahakam blocks.
  2. The fields located in the Bentu Block which is managed by PT Mega Energi Persada (PT EMP). The Bentu Block is located near the city of Pekanbaru. PT EMP also supplies its gas to Indonesia’s state power company (PLN) and Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP).
  3. The oil and gas fields located in the Jambi Merang Block which is now operated by Pertamina Hulu Energi Jambi Merang (PHE Jambi Merang). PHE Jambi Merang acquired the block from the Joint Operating Body Pertamina-Talisman Jambi Merang on 9 February 2019.

In the past, the refinery used the fuel oil, Naptha and fuel gas it produced internally to meet the fuel needs of the refinery.

The project has brought significant economic benefits to both the gas producers and the refinery. In using the gas, the refinery is able to reduce its fuel costs by 40%.

This article was written by Jamin Djuang, a published author of “The Story of Oil and Gas: How Oil and Gas Are Explored, Drilled and Produced” for readers who have not seen an oil field.