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February 4, 2009

Indonesia expects 2% rise in gas output
Indonesia is targeting a 2 percent rise in natural gas output to 7.56 billion cubic feet per day in 2009, with 37 percent due for export via pipelines or in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG), Reuters quoted the energy minister as saying Tuesday.

Indonesia has been seeking to channel more gas to the domestic market for use in power stations and fertiliser plants to help replace oil products that need to be imported.

"The gas producers in Indonesia have supported a target of gas production increasing to 7.56 billion cubic feet per day in 2009," Energy Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro told reporters.

Indonesia's natural gas output was 7.40 billion in 2008.

The minister said that 63 percent of the gas was due to be used domestically, while 37 percent would be exported in the form of LNG or via gas pipelines, including to Singapore.

"It indeed true that gas for the domestic market has been rising higher and higher, while exports are lower," he said, noting that gas exports accounted for 53 percent of output in 2004.

"This in line with government policy to prioritise the domestic gas market," he said, adding the government would still allow exports as long as the local market was supplied.

The minister said that the location of some gas fields meant that it did not make economic sense to use the gas domestically.

Oil contractors producing gas in Indonesia, include Total, BP and state oil firm Pertamina.

Indonesia's LNG production is expected to fall more than 2 percent in 2009 due to a decline in natural gas supply to the Bontang plant.

Indonesia, the world's number three LNG exporter after Qatar and Malaysia, has far more gas than oil but has faced limits on supply to the domestic market due to long-term LNG export commitments, which it is reviewing.

Indonesia's LNG output is expected to drop to 349 cargoes of 125,000 cubic metres each in 2009 from 359 in 2008.

Indonesia has failed to meet its contractual commitments to traditional markets such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, often agreed more than a decade ago, as it seeks to switch more supply to the domestic market and due to a slump in production.

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