Indonesian state companies ready to operate Masela Block

Indonesian state companies ready to operate Masela Block

Rini Soemarno. (ANTARA/Akbar Nugroho Gumay/P003)

Inshallah (SOEs are ready), we hope so, but still do not know."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian State-owned companies are ready to operate the Masela Blocks Abadi gas field in case the current foreign investors pull out of the oil and gas field project, State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Rini Soemarno said.

"Inshallah (SOEs are ready), we hope so, but still do not know," Minister Rini said on the sidelines of planting 10,000 trees on the Jakarta-Cikampek toll road Saturday.

She still does not know because at this time there are investors outside the state-owned companies that hold contracts on the gas field which is located in Maluku province, Rini acknowledged.

The Masela block management should be handed over to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the interests of the people, House of Representatives (DPR) Commission VII member Iskan Qolba Lubis said earlier.

"The peoples interests will be more guaranteed if the project is handed over to the management of SOEs, not to foreigners. So, this is not a matter of location whether onshore or offshore," Iskan said.

Based on the law, state-owned companies have rights to fully manage energy in the country.

As reported earlier, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli has expressed confidence that contractors of the project, Inpex Corporation, will not pull out of the project.

The reason is that the Japanese contractor had spent up to US$2 billion in the exploration of the Indonesian largest gas field, according to Rizal.

"There are parties that have tried to scare us that Inpex will resign if the government decides to build the Masela refinery plant onshore. Certainly, it will not as it has spent $2 billion on research and has obtained a mining field that could be tapped for 70 years," Rizal noted.

The maritime affairs coordinating minister made the remarks on the sidelines of his bilateral talks with Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders at Kempinski Hotel.

Japans Inpex Corporation had earlier planned to develop an offshore refinery in Masela Block. The Abadi gas field in the Masela Block had actually attracted several investors, Rizal said.

"There is no problem if Inpex is willing to leave. There are several investors who are interested," he pointed out.

The refinery plant of the Abadi gas field in the Masela Block should be built onshore, President Joko Widodo has decided.