Indonesia Offers Five Oil and Gas Blocks, Pledges to Boost Exploration

© Jan / Adobe Stock
© Jan / Adobe Stock

Indonesia launched its first oil and gas auction this year offering five blocks on Tuesday, while the government pledged to boost exploration in an effort to reverse output declines in a country that was once a net oil exporter.

"To meet oil and gas demand, Indonesia is currently focusing its efforts on exploring oil and gas basins considering that Indonesia still holds abundant untapped oil and gas reserves," Energy Minister Arifin Tasrif said at Indonesia Petroleum Association annual conference where the auction was launched.

Out of 128 hydrocarbon basins, 68 remain entirely unexplored, he said.

Among the sites offered on Tuesday were the Pesut Mahakam onshore block in East Kalimantan province with an estimated resource of 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas, and Central Andaman exploration blocks with estimated resources of 100 million barrels of oil and 500 billion cubic feet gas, energy ministry senior official Dadan Kusdiana said on Tuesday.

The Melati block in Sulawesi, which has both onshore and offshore fields with an estimated gas resource of 4.7 trillion cubic feet and 850 million barrels of oil, was also included in the auction announcement.

The government plans to offer up to ten new blocks in 2024, an official said earlier this year, potentially including gas blocks in northern Sumatra region.

Indonesia on Tuesday also signed a production sharing contract with Malaysia's Petronas for the Bobara block off West Papua and an amended contract for the Ketapang block off Java with Petronas and its partners. The total combined investment commitments for the two contracts were around $97 million.

(Reuters - Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy, Bernadette Christina Munthe; Editing by John Mair and Sonali Paul)

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