Indonesia Awards Two Oil & Gas Exploration Blocks to Domestic Firms

Indonesia has awarded another two oil and gas exploration blocks to domestic firms as it seeks to boost production to meet growing energy demand, the energy ministry's director general of oil and gas said on Wednesday. 

The Paus working area in offshore East Natuna, with an estimated 2.5 trillion cubic feet of gas, was awarded to Blue Sky Paus Ltd, the director general, Tutuka Ariadji, said. 

"The government hopes that with the appointment of bidding winner for Paus working area, this can contribute to Indonesia's energy resiliency in the future," he said. 

Southeast Asia's biggest economy has pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2060 but will rely on natural gas to bridge the gap while transitioning to cleaner energy. 

Authorities also awarded the Jabung Tengah working area, estimated to have 200 million barrels of oil equivalent, to a consortium of PT Cipta Niaga Gemilang and PT Rukun Raharja. 

The companies had committed to investing $31.2 million in the two blocks over the next three years, Tutuka said. This brings the number of blocks awarded to six this year, of which two are production blocks. 

The energy ministry is preparing six oil and gas working areas to be offered in a new bidding round next year, he added. 

Once a member of OPEC, Indonesia become a net importer of oil in early 2000s as production dwindled. It is targeting reaching 1 million barrels per day of oil lifting by 2030. In the January-September period this year, Indonesia's oil lifting stood at 610,100 bpd, below a target of 703,000 bpd. 

(Reuters - Reporting by Bernadette Christina; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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