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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        3  June 2011

Indonesia wants energy firms

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Investors complain of a lack of reliable data on oil and gas reserves, frequent changes to laws, and conflicting legal interpretations between the central and local governments as barriers to investment.

All that makes their 15 percent share of the profit split with the government unattractive, they say.

Major players in Indonesia include Chevron from the United States and French oil giant Total. Indonesia's state-owned firm Pertamina accounts for around 15 per cent of crude oil production, and owns the eight refineries supplying petrol to the domestic market.

Energy analyst Kuturbi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said current oil prices of around US$100 (S$123) per barrel should be an incentive for companies to take part in oil exploration.

'But since there is low interest, this signals that something is wrong with how the government is managing investment in oil exploration,' said Dr. Kuturbi, who is from the Centre for Petroleum and Energy Economics Studies in Jakarta.

Last year, only 21 exploration contracts between investors and the government were signed, compared to 34 in 2008. Two weeks ago, the government offered 20 oil and gas blocks in the first round of tenders this year, and said it would consider giving investors a bigger cut of profits and more favorable tax rates if they explored less accessible sites, such as those in eastern Indonesia.

The director-general of oil and gas at the Energy and Minerals Ministry, Ms Evita Legowo, said the ministry would try to find money for more detailed geological studies.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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