Sheikhs in Indonesia oil hunt

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Petroleum is eyeing an expansion into Indonesia after it won bids for the exploration of two blocks oil and gas blocks. 

A branch of the emirate’s sovereign Mubadala Petroleum said it won the bid for the exploration of the Andaman I and Andaman II blocks with Premier Oil as operator.

“Both are very much exploration blocks where there will be activities looking for oil and gas,” a Mubadala Petroleum statement said.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources is also holding roadshows in the US and Europe this month to lure investment from the world’s top energy companies as the former Opec (the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) member seeks to reverse a decline in oil and gas production.

The ministry is seeking bids for 24 oil and gas blocks, one coal-bed methane block and one shale block. The government expected to get investors for at least half of the blocks with the next round of offers due in about six months, Deputy Minister Arcandra Tahar said.

The areas include those not sold in tenders in the past three years, Tahar told the media.

Indonesia is trying to lure billions of dollars of investment into its oil industry to reduce dependence on imports as production at its ageing fields falls.

Mubadala Petroleum, a part of the Mubadala Investment Company, is rapidly expanding into Asean with other projects in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

It is already the second-largest crude oil operator in the Gulf of Thailand, with the Jasmine, Manora and Nong Yao offshore concessions.

In Indonesia, it is active in Sebuku, which contains the Ruby gas fields, and West Sebuku. Ruby production started in October 2013 and has since exported around 1.8 billion cubic metres of gas. West Sebuku remains an exploration site.

Indonesia, once a major Asean crude oil exporter, only managed to sell five out of 10 blocks offered in a tender in 2017.

The energy ministry has scrapped more than 50 regulations related to employment to refinery permits this year as it says it is targeting around US$200 billion in investment over the next decade.

Mubadala Petroleum is also working on the development of the Ca Rong Do oil and gas field in Vietnam, with an investment of US$450 million, and the Malaysian Pagaga gas project.

Mubadala Petroleum produces 500,000 barrels of oil per day in its exploration and production operations, with projects in West Asia, Asean and elsewhere.


Indonesia’s oil sector has been on the decline. Picture credit: PXHere