Preparing Technical and Commercial Documents for Geothermal Exploration Project Financing in Indonesia



Key Words:

geothermal, exploration, resource, risk, derisking, feasibility, assessment, due diligence, lender, proposal, drilling, commercial, finance, funding, GREM, GEUDP, PISP, cost, scheme, government, red flags, fatal flaw, techno-economic, Indonesia


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In recent years, public awareness of using clean and renewable energy, such as geothermal, in a more significant portion is starting to increase. Indonesia is one of the countries that have the most considerable geothermal energy potential, but it has yet to be utilized optimally. The Government of Indonesia aims to achieve 5,486 MWe geothermal energy utilization by 2030. Therefore, Indonesia is expected to see many geothermal development projects in the next eight years, with more attention to exploration projects. With the increasing number of geothermal projects in Indonesia, the government and the geothermal developer companies will need more funds to finance project expenditures in the exploration and development stages. However, lenders generally prefer to fund the development phase of a project rather than the exploration phase because the risks associated with the project are acceptable, and the potential return on investment is more certain in the development phase. This preference is comprehendible since the project's success in the exploration phase is uncertain, and the potential rewards are largely speculative. The exploration phase also involves greater uncertainty and risk, as the geology and potential resources still need to be fully understood. The funding can come from various financial institutions, either Indonesia or International institutions, where they will require prospective borrowers to submit multiple documents as part of the assessment process. This practice will be straightforward for geothermal development companies familiar with the due diligence process in accessing funding facilities, but preparing these documents will be a challenge for companies that are not used to it. Integrating indirect and limited data of exploration projects to justify the relatively high drilling costs will require much effort. This paper discusses the process that is generally gone through by geothermal development companies seeking to obtain funding from financial institutions for their geothermal exploration project. To provide background, the authors will first discuss a geothermal exploration project's cost estimate and challenges. Then, it will focus on the proposal submission and evaluation process and the critical information that is expected to be included in the submitted document. The discussion in this paper is based on the results of a literature study and interviews with various financial institution personnel who have experience financing geothermal project activities in Indonesia.

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