Chevron expands geothermal operations

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The world's largest geothermal energy producer, Chevron Corp., officially opened the third unit of its Darajat power plant in Garut, West Java, on Tuesday, providing electricity to an additional 700,000 homes.

The Darajat III geothermal power plant added to the power capacity at Chevron's Darajat geothermal complex by 110 megawatts (MW) to 259 MW, the company said in a statement.

If the power output in the Darajat power plant is combined with its Salak geothermal plant, also located in West Java, Chevron can provide electricity to about 3.9 million homes.

"Chevron is proud to be involved in the development of this significant renewable energy project, which builds on our position as the largest geothermal energy producer in the world," Chevron International Exploration and Production president director John Watson was quoted as saying in the release.

Chevron is the only foreign company currently developing geothermal energy in Indonesia, whose geothermal resource base is believed to be able to produce over 27,700 MW of electricity, or 40 percent of the world's reserve.

However legal uncertainty, financial risks and government bureaucracy have made the sector unattractive, with only seven power plants with a combined capacity of 852 MW in operation, only about 4 percent of the country's potential.

Chevron IndoAsia Business Unit managing director Chris Prattini expressed gratitude to the government and community for their ongoing support of the company's geothermal operations.

With more than 80 years in Indonesia's energy sector, Chevron "is pleased to be able to bring its leading-edge technology, reservoir management skill and drilling capabilities to help develop the country's geothermal resources for the people of Indonesia," he said, according to the release.

To expand its renewable energy operations in Indonesia this year, Chevron has allocated more than US$100 million, from the total $2.5 billion it will invest globally, for the development of renewable and alternative energy from 2007 through 2009.

Chevron is also Indonesia's largest oil producer contributing about about 50 percent of the country's total oil production.
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