ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
ConocoPhillips to spend $2.5 billion in next four years
US oil and gas giant ConocoPhillips pledged on Tuesday that it would further increase investment in Indonesia, despite uncertainty in the oil and gas industry partly due to the sharp drop in oil prices.
The commitment was made by ConocoPhillips chairman and chief executive officer Ryan Lance during his meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Tuesday. The company’s other senior officials including ConocoPhillips Indonesia president director Erec S. Isaacson also took part in the meeting.
“We’ve been here for a long time [40 years] and will try to be here for another long period,” Lance told a press conference after the meeting. “We look forward to continuing our investment in this country,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said revealed that the US firm planned to invest US$2.5 billion for the next three or four years, a similar amount to what it had invested in the country in the previous four years.
The commitment was made amid a prolonged decline in the global oil price due to increasing supply following the US shale oil boom. The plunging price has forced global firms to reconsider their investment and reduce spending, particularly in risky areas.
The benchmark Brent price for May settlement dropped around 2.4 percent to $54.95 per barrel on Tuesday compared to a day earlier, according to figures from Bloomberg.
Another benchmark price, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), also fell around 2.3 percent to $47.58 per barrel. The prices are already half the level of early last year. The crude price has dropped more than 50 percent since the middle of last year.
ConocoPhillips operates two blocks in the country, the South Natuna Sea Block B and the South Sumatra Corridor.
Figures from the Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas) showed that the South Natuna Sea Block B, operated by ConocoPhillips Natuna, is targeted to report gas lifting of around 335 million British thermal units per day (mmbtud) this year. The South Sumatra Corridor — operated by ConocoPhillips Grissik Ltd. — is expected to give approximately 956 mmbtud this year.
Meanwhile, the total condensate and oil output is estimated to be at around 20,500 barrels of oil per day (bopd).
Although the oil output is relatively low, the company is a major contributor to the country’s gas industry, with a total output of almost 20 percent of Indonesia’s total gas production. Therefore, ConocoPhillips was an important partner in developing the national oil and gas industry, Sudirman noted.
The minister added that ConocoPhillips had also expressed appreciation for the government’s efforts to reform the energy sector in the country.
“The reform we are doing is aimed at giving certainty and fairness to those who invest here,” he said.
The government is struggling to improve the oil and gas sector, which has been one of country’s most troubled sectors following a number of corruption cases linked to it.
Reform in the sector started with the dismissal of the oil and gas chief at the ministry and the appointment of a new SKKMigas head.
The drafting of the new oil and gas bill is underway to give a stronger legal basis to the industry. The ministry has also begun to settle the issue of expiring blocks, which has dogged multi-billion dollar investments in the sector.
The ministry is planning to issue a new regulation regarding offering participating interests to local companies.
The new regulation is expected to be the guideline for the participation of companies owned by local administrations.
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