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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   19 November 2010

Indonesia opens new blocks for oil, gas exploration

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Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, has awarded four oil and gas blocks to local and foreign companies, including BP Exploration Indonesia, a unit of oil major BP, a government official has confirmed.

As much as $28 million was expected to be spent on exploration activities in the newly opened blocks, including $4.2 million going straight to the government for so-called signature bonuses, Evita Legowo, director general of oil and gas at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, said on Thursday.

Aside from BP Exploration Indonesia, the other companies awarded the oil and gas blocks were Ephindo Oil and Gas Holding, the Awe Consortium and Mitra Energy.

BP Exploration Indonesia is set to spend $3.4 million on exploration in the North Arafura block in Papua.

Ephindo was granted rights to explore the North Sokang block in Riau, with an investment plan totaling $10.2 million.

The Awe Consortium, which consists of Baruna Recovery Energy and Sillo Maritime Perdana, was awarded the Titan block in Java, although no details were provided about which provinces would be covered by the project.

Its total investment is estimated at $8.3 million.

Mitra Energy is set to explore the Bone block in South Sulawesi, with a total investment of $6.1 million.

“The companies have three years to explore the oil and gas potential of those blocks,” Evita said.

Indonesia has so far this year awarded 42 blocks across the country for exploration.

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