SBY hopeful of Kuwait oil firm's investment in RI

Dadan Wijaksana, The Jakarta Post, Kuwait City

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono believes the interest of Kuwait Petroleum Company (KPC), a major energy firm in the region, to develop an oil refinery in Indonesia indicates improving bilateral economic relations.

Yudhoyono, speaking Sunday to reporters prior to the delegation's departure to Qatar, said the development of such a plant in cooperation with state oil and gas firm PT Pertamina was among issues the governments agreed to discuss further.

"We're trying to facilitate cooperation between Kuwait Petroleum Company and PT Pertamina to develop a refinery in Indonesia," said Yudhoyono, who is on a five-country, 10-day trip to the region.

He added the refinery was different from the one earlier discussed with parties in Saudi Arabia. In the latter, the Indonesian government was hoping to strike a deal with energy giant Saudi Aramco Co to help develop an oil-processing plant with a capacity of 400,00 barrels in Tuban, East Java.

Seeking agreements on the development of oil-processing facilities is high on Yudhoyono's agenda, with his focus on securing the supply of the processed product to combat the problem of ever-increasing fuel consumption at home amid declining oil output.

At present, Indonesia imports up to 400,000 barrels per day of processed oil, with Kuwait supplying about a third of the amount.

Details of the proposed deal Indonesia is seeking with the KPC would be discussed further in a planned meeting in Indonesia later this year.

"Everything will be discussed further in the Joint Commission Meeting. And they have agreed for it to be held in Indonesia, sometime in July," Yudhoyono said.

Indonesia also is seeking cooperation from Kuwait and its business community for gas exploration in West Natuna, as well as oil and gas exploration projects in the eastern part of the country.

Yudhoyono, who earlier delivered a speech before the country's Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Kuwait City, invited the Gulf country's investors to take part in Indonesia's upcoming Infrastructure Summit scheduled for September.

Dozens of infrastructure projects, including for toll roads, power plants and sanitation, will be on offer.

In 2005, total trade between the two countries reached US$1.4 billion, a 20 percent increase from $1.1 billion booked in the previous year.

Sharia banking is another sector in Indonesia that Yudhoyono said Kuwait investors should explore investment opportunities.
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