"That is a good step. In the short term, oil imports can be reduced by banning the export of crude oil owned by (foreign) contractors," a member of the House Commission VII, Kurtubi, stated here on Wednesday.
Oil and gas imports currently contribute the most to the country`s current account deficit, which is one of the factors causing the rupiah`s weakening.
The government currently buys 225 thousand barrels of domestic oil per day. "That is a short-term policy. But it takes a long time to reduce oil and gas imports sustainably," he noted.
In the long run, oil and gas imports could be reduced by raising domestic oil and gas production and increasing drilling and exploration activities, he added.
At the same time, the government must also raise domestic fuel oil production through refineries. "It is oil refineries that produce domestic fuel oils. The number of our refineries remains unchanged," he revealed.
To that end, Kurtubi lauded Pertamina`s plan to build six new oil refineries and optimize the existing oil refineries to contribute 1 million barrels per day to meet fuel oil needs in 2024.
"So we cannot spontaneously reduce oil imports," he pointed out.
Reporting by Royke Sinaga
Editing by Suharto, Eliswan