Major oil companies in race for 12 oil and gas blocks

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government is in the process of selecting the winners of last August's tender for the development of 12 oil and gas blocks with potential reserves of between 30 and 400 million barrels of oil equivalent, according to a senior official.

"We will soon announce the winners of the contracts after getting approval from the Energy and Mineral Resources Minister," Director General for Oil and Gas Luluk Sumiarso said Friday.

He was quoted by Antara as saying that the 12 blocks were the SE Mahakam block in Kalimantan; West Air Komering block in Sumatra; Karama, Mandar and Sageri blocks in the Makassar Straits; Ujung Kulon block in West Java; Cucut, Tuna, Cakalang and Baronang blocks in Natuna; Enrekang block in West Sulawesi; and Lampung I block in Lampung.

Among the companies that participated in the tender were Total, Manley NV, Premier Oil, Petronas, Esso Exploration, Talisman, Anadarko, StatOil and state oil and gas firm Pertamina.

With the signing of contracts, the government expects to take in US$25 million in signature bonuses, Luluk explained.

He said that the blocks in the Makassar Straits appeared to be the most interesting areas on offer, even though the sea there was more than 1,500-meters deep.

He said the government had actually put 20 blocks on the table, but there were no bidders for eight, which were considered uneconomic.

Earlier this year, the ministry's director for the upstream oil and gas industry, R. Priyono, said the government would offer another 30 blocks, mostly in the deep waters off Papua and Nusa Tenggara, for oil and gas exploration.

The government wants to increase the country's oil production to 1.3 million barrels per day by 2009 from the current 1.06 million barrels per day.(05)
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