"We have surplus gas, which could not be used domestically. Are we going to allow the surplus gas to be stored and not be utilized? We should clarify to the public that gas is being exported not in a bid to avoid meeting the domestic demand," Deputy Head of SKK Migas Zikrullah stated at an event to highlight the achievements in gas exploration here on Thursday.
He made the statement in response to the common public perception that a significant volume of natural resources, particularly gas, was being exported rather than catering to the domestic demand.
Zikrullah said his side was always ready to fulfill the domestic demand. Moreover, Indonesia still has vast gas reserves, particularly in isolated areas.
He also claimed that the nations gas production, in the form of piped gas reserves and liquefied natural gas, including gas fields that were yet to be developed, will continue to be used to meet the domestic needs.
However, the surplus gas could not be absorbed by the country as the production exceeded the domestic requirement.
"This should become our focus. It should not happen that the public makes accusations that we only prefer to export gas," he emphasized.
According to Zikrullah, gas exports also offer benefits to the state in the form of foreign exchange to help develop the country.
"What we enjoy is development as the state is able to generate revenue. However, it should also be synchronized. After all, the market has not yet developed at home," he asserted.
Earlier, Chief Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli had highlighted the importance of changing the exploit-and-export paradigm of the countrys natural resources, which had been taking place since long in Indonesia.
According to the coordinating minister, the paradigm should be changed into one that ensures the management of natural resources to offer added value to the country.
Ramli also emphasized that the country should not export the produced gas in the form of LNG as it only generated profits worth US$2.5 billion per year.
Ramli affirmed that President Joko Widodo (Jokowi)s administration had a clear vision to use natural resources optimally for the benefit of the people.
"To this end, the paradigm of development must change, and it should no longer be mainly focused on exports. Instead, we must develop our processing industry," Minister Ramli stated while delivering a keynote speech to participants at the Indonesian Youth Speak Summit 2016 in West Java on Saturday (April 30).
Fish caught at sea must not be exported immediately but should be processed first to offer added value, he stated.