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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        26 January 2011

Pertamina to boost output

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State oil and energy company Pertamina plans to spend US$1 billion in 2011 on acquisitions of oil and gas blocks, as the country seeks to boost declining production.

Pertamina said on Tuesday that it aims to lift oil and gas output by up to 100,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent by 2015 through acquisitions, and is in talks with local producers, though would prefer to acquire overseas blocks and will focus on Africa, Libya and the Caspian Sea.

The company will issue bonds worth up to $2 billion in June to finance expenditure, and also plans to raise cash through selling a 20-30 percent stake in its majority-owned insurance firm Tugu Pratama in an IPO in the first half of 2011.

Pertamina's director of investment and risk management Ferederick Siahaan, said the company was looking to acquire blocks with oil output higher than 5,000 barrels per day, or gas output above 100 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd).

"We are now in talks with two local companies," said Siahaan at a conference in Jakarta, without giving further details.

Pertamina has said it expects crude and condensate production of 132,000 barrels per day for this year, up just 1 percent from last year, though the former OPEC member country has often missed production targets because of declining output at aging fields.

Pertamina said last month it had dropped its bid to buy a stake in Encore Energy, an indirect owner of a majority stake in Indonesian oil producer Medco Energi, which had been part of a plan to boost output through acquisitions.

Southeast Asia's largest economy imported 11 percent more crude last year than in 2009, and imports are seen rising over the next few years as the economy continues to grow.

The move to issue bonds comes amid strong demand in the past year for Indonesian debt, as the economy and companies showed resilience to the financial crisis and the country is seen winning further sovereign ratings upgrades.


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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

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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