Jakarta. Indonesia's state-run oil company Pertamina has cut the price of Pertalite, its new grade of gasoline, and expanded distribution to Sumatra and Kalimantan to boost sales, a senior official at the company said.
The price of the non-subsidized RON90 fuel has been lowered to Rp 8,300 ($0.58) from Rp 8,400 per liter as of Sept. 1.
Pertamina marketing director Ahmad Bambang said the price cut was part of a strategy to boost Pertalite sales and bring down Pertamina's potential $1 billion loss this year from the sale of subsidized Premium (RON88) gasoline in Java, Madura and Bali, from January to August.
"We still make a profit of around Rp 200 per liter [from Pertalite], despite the lower price. It's better to try and make people shift from Premium to Pertalite," Ahmad said on Sunday.
The company is also targeting to sell Pertalite at 1,000 gas station across Indonesia by the end of the year — more ambitious than the initial target of 500 gas stations.
"The demand for Pertalite is huge. Everyone is pleased with Pertalite," said Ahmad.
As of August, Pertalite was sold at 400 outlets in Java and Bali. Each outlet sold 3.5 kiloliters Pertalite each day, for a combined total of 1,400 kiloliters. However, the company wants to sell 2,500 to 3,000 kiloliters a day at the end of this year.
"As of Monday, Pertalite will be available in Samarinda, East Kalimantan," Ahmad said.
Premium consumption currently stands at 30 million kiloliters per year, but Pertamina said this can be lowered to 25 million kiloliters if Pertalite is made available at more gas stations. However, Ahmad insisted Pertamina offers Pertalite only as an additional option, as it does not intend to replace Premium altogether.