Jakarta, March 13th 2022, A drilling well allocated for a geothermal power plant leaked H2S gas and has again claimed more victims. At least eight people are currently being hospitalized in intensive care unit at the Wonosobo Regional Public Hospital and one person has been confirmed to be dead, caused by H2S gas leak at the Pad 28 drilling well owned by PT Geo Dipa Energi at Dieng, Banjarnegara Regency, Central Java. The leak began at 3 PM Saturday on March 12th 2022, during which workers were preparing to drill at Pad 28. When checking the Pad 28 relief valve, workers began to feel nauseated and started to collapse.

This is not the first accident at the Dieng Geothermal Power Plant project; at least two serious accidents have occurred in this site. First, on June 30th 2007, a loud explosion from brand water unit 9 owned by Dieng Geothermal Power Plant, causing critical injury on 14 workers who were near the pipes. Second, on June 13th 2016, an explosion at the Pad 30 well occurred during routine cleaning. Six workers suffered from critical burns and had to undergo intensive care at the Wonosobo Regional Public Hospital.

Apart from Dieng, accidents at geothermal power plant projects often occur and recur; from H2S gas leaks, pipes and drilling well explosions, to bursts of hot mud identical to those at the Lapindo site. These disasters also resulted in lost lives and harm for the residents/communities who have been living in the surrounding sites for a long time.

In Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra, accidents have occurred three times during the past two years at the geothermal power plant project owned by PT Sorik Marapi Geothermal Power (SMGP), Sibanggor Julu Village.

First, H2S gas leaks from one of their well pads at Sibanggor Julu on January 25th 2021. The incident occurred at noon in the middle of a paddy field and residential areas, while residents/communities were working on their land. This gas leak caused five deaths, two of them children and resulted in at least 49 residents hospitalized.

Second, on May 14th 2021, a fire and explosion occurred at the geothermal power plant site owned by PT SMGP, situated merely 300 meters from a residential complex and required residents/communities to be evacuated until the fire had been put away. Third, on Sunday, March 6th 2022, H2S gas leaks from drilling wells owned by PT SMGP happened again in Sibanggor Julu. This accident resulted in at least 58 hospitalized residents, after they suffered from nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and fainting.

Meanwhile in Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara, these projects depict an equally bleak picture. At the Mataloko geothermal power plant, since 2009, hot mud bursts and gases have gushed out in the middle of a resident-owned plantation. Hot mud accompanied by hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has impacted 11 residents surrounding the Mataloko Geothermal Power Plant; the destructive force of this incident has resulted in faster corrosion on zinc-based roof plates, rising acute respiratory syndrome, destruction of paddy fields and plantations drowned by mud, to failed harvests caused by plants failing to reach maturity/bear fruit (cacao, coffee, avocado, vanilla, pecan and corn).

The same phenomenon also occurred in Ulumbu Geothermal Power Plant at Manggarai, Nusa Tenggara Timur, which has been operating since 2011. Hot vapor emanating from the Ulumbu Geothermal Power Plant wells contain gases which accelerate the corrotion of residential houses’ zinc-based roof plates, directly resulting in a decline of agricultural productivity; hawks and mmacaws have begun to disappear. The Ulumbu Geothermal Power Plant 6 has produced new social problems, including suspicion among residents, caused by conflict over water supplies that have been allocated for the power plant.

Currently, the same problems plaguing Mataloko and Ulumbu have been threatening Wae Sano, West Manggarai, Flores. On September 28th 2021, a land-use cooperation agreement designated for a geothermal power plant was signed by the West Manggarai Regency Government and PT Geo Dipa Energi, the same corporation managing the Dieng Geothermal Power Plant which has been a returning customer for site-related accidents. It is clear why the Wae Sano Geothermal Power Plant has been rejected by its residents/communities: the planned drilling well is situated directly in the residents/communities’ life space, from residential houses, livelihood areas, main water supply, indigenous houses, churches and schools.

There are 64 Geothermal Working Areas that are currently and will be exploited for geothermal power plant sites; this means that there are 64 crises threats and terrors similar in the areas mentioned above. Again and again, the people are sacrificed for power plant and energy generation which proclaimed itself to be clean and low-carbon, but cause many casualties. It has been noted that there are 22 Geothermal Working Areas which have been clearly rejected by local residents/communities, both those which are in operation or still in the exploration phase.


For reasons stated above, we urge to:

Stop all operational phases of geothermal power plant projects throughout the Indonesian landscape. State caretakers must execute firm legal measures to crack down on safety negligence committed by these corporations.

Evaluate all contracts/agreements in 64 Geothermal Working Areas, beginning from Sorik Marapi in Mandailing Natal, Dieng in Central Java, Mataloko in Ulumbu and Wae Sano in Flores, to ensure the safety of residents/communities’ life space.

Form an independent team involving the National Commission of Human Rights, experts, civil society components and impacted victims to investigate, in a transparent and accountable manner, the root cause and impacts caused by the Mandailing Natal and Dieng geothermal power plants.


Contact persons:

The People’s Coalition Against Geothermal

  1. Yoseph Erwin – Wae Sano Resident, Manggarai Barat – ​​+62 812-3818-6082
  2. Ernest Teredi – Ulumbu Resident, Manggarai – +62 812-8520-9997
  3. Toni Anu – Mataloko Resident, Ngada – +62 823-5957-9669
  4. Saptar Nasution – Puncak Sorik Marapi Resident, Mandailing Natal – +62 812-6399-2963
  5. Ki Bagus Hadi Kusuma – JATAM – +62 857-8198-5822
  6. Muh Reza – KRuHA – +62 813-7060-1441
  7. Era Purnama Sari – +62 812-1032-2745
  8. Cornel Gea – LBH Semarang – +62 857-2700-5445