JAKARTA, March 7 (Reuters) -
* Indonesia’s downstream oil and gas regulator (BPH Migas) told state energy company Pertamina to follow government rules after shortages and excessive pricing of “Premium” RON88 gasoline and diesel fuel emerged in some areas.
* In a press release on Wednesday, the regulator referred to shortages at filling stations outside Java, Madura and Bali.
* “There was a shortage of Premium (RON88 gasoline) fuel in almost all filling stations in the provinces of Bandar Lampung and Riau,” it said.
* Premium gasoline and diesel fuel had been sold in Sumenep regency in East Java above the government mandated price, it added.
* BPH Migas “instructs” Pertamina to follow government and regulator rules on pricing, distribution and supply, it said.
* A Jakarta-based spokesman for Pertamina said the company had looked into the matter and there were no longer any fuel shortages.
* According to the regulator, this year Pertamina has been allocated a quota to distribute and supply 7.5 million kilolitres of RON88 gasoline across Indonesia.
* Pertamina has been assigned a quota to distribute and supply 14.37 million kilolitres of diesel, with reserves of 1 million kilolitres.
* Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, subsidises some fuels and controls fuel prices to protect consumers from price movements.
* Indonesia plans to keep fuel prices unchanged this year and the next, officials said on Tuesday, in a move aimed at increasing the purchasing power of its citizens.
* The country shifted the burden of gasoline subsidies to Pertamina in 2015, shortly after President Joko Widodo took office, forcing losses on the company to ensure retail fuel prices did not rise too fast for consumers.
* Prices of low-octane gasoline and diesel were initially expected to be revised by the government every three months.
* In late 2016, the government also mandated a single price for RON88 gasoline and subsidised diesel fuel across Indonesia.
* Pertamina’s finances have been hurt in recent years due to government-controlled gasoline and diesel prices that have been held below market levels. (Reporting by Wilda Asmarini Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)