Syrian crisis may affect global oil prices: Minister

If the US Congress decides to take military action against Syria, Hatta Rajasa said, the Indonesian government is already prepared to reduce its imports of oil and gas and increase the use of bio-diesel.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The conflict in Syria is likely to increase the volatility of global oil prices and may even lead to an energy crisis, according to Chief Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa.

"I think the Syrian crisis will have an impact on world oil prices. Therefore, we need to take steps in anticipation of that eventuality," he stated here on Wednesday.

If the US Congress decides to take military action against Syria, Hatta said, the Indonesian government is already prepared to reduce its imports of oil and gas and increase the use of bio-diesel.

"We need to increase our reliance on bio-diesel anyway," he continued.

If the Syrian crisis further escalates, Hatta said, the Indonesian government will offer incentives to domestic companies to find new fields as part of efforts to increase oil production at home.

"We will reduce our consumption and diversify our energy sources. Although this is a challenging problem, we can overcome it if we consistently implement our policy," he said.

The US plan to take military action against Syria caused the Indonesia Stock Index to drop to 4,074 at close on Wednesday.

"The IHSG index closed amid negative sentiments from the rising geopolitical tension in the Middle East, particularly after a top US Republican official expressed support for President Barack Obama`s plan to take a military action against Syria," Panin Sekuritas analyst Purwomo Sartono said, adding that the plan offset the positive sentiment from improved manufacturing data from the United States, Europe, and China.

Earlier, on Tuesday, President Obama received the approval of many Congressional leaders for his plan to take limited and proportional action against Syria.

He has urged the Congress to "vote quickly" to implement the proposed military action.(*)

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