Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo has sought an evaluation of natural gas production costs in order to compete in the sector with other countries, including ASEAN nations, according to Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) Minister Arifin Tasrif.

"An inter-ministerial team will evaluate the production costs, so we can ensure that the amount of gas produced aligns with the costs incurred," Tasrif informed after attending a meeting chaired by President Widodo at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Monday.

The minister affirmed that such an evaluation is necessary to boost the competitiveness of Indonesia's economic structure in the oil and gas sector, noting that the nation has been exporting natural gas and oil to other countries.

"We aim for efficiency so we can have a more competitive gas sector, which, in turn, is expected to encourage the development of the industry at home," he said.

He further informed that during the meeting, the President and ministers discussed a grand strategy for natural gas exploration and exploitation. In principle, Indonesia will continue to prioritize the use of natural gas for fulfilling domestic needs, he added.

However, the government will not ban natural gas exports since excess production can be optimized to increase the state's revenue, he said.

"Overall, 67 percent of our gas production is allocated to fulfill domestic needs, while the rest is exported in the form of LNG (liquid natural gas) and piped gas," Tasrif elaborated.

Indonesia is one of the world's natural gas producers and has vast natural gas reserves. In 2021, the country was recorded to have stored around 41.62 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven natural gas reserves.

Based on the 2022–2030 Indonesian Gas Balance, the domestic production of natural gas is sufficient to meet domestic needs.

In the next decade, Indonesia is projected to experience a surplus in natural gas of up to 1.715 million TCF per day.

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Translator: Indra Arief, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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