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Pertamina hopes to acquire five overseas blocks this year

 PT Pertamina expects an additional oil output of 32,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the firm’s production from its planned stakes acquisition of oil and gas blocks overseas this year. 

Pertamina president director Karen Agustiawan said on Tuesday that the state-owned oil and gas company had aimed to seal the acquisition deals of five oil and gas blocks abroad this year, of which the firm expected to boost its total production in the near future. 

“Pertamina has been communicating intensively with our partners overseas in a bid to accomplish our goals which we expect to be done this year,” Karen said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post.

Pertamina has allocated Rp 40 trillion (US$4.16 billion) this year to develop its upstream business sector. As for the firm’s acquisition plan, Pertamina has allotted as much as Rp 18.5 trillion this year.

Karen did not go into details about the whereabouts of the five oil and gas blocks Pertamina was keeping their eyes on, but did mention in her statement that one of the planned acquisitions had to do with the ongoing talks about buying stakes in a Venezuelan oil and gas firm.

Previously, Karen said that the political situation in Venezuela, which recently just finished its election with incumbent President Hugo Chavez winning his third reelection, was a factor in Pertamina’s considerations.

In her statement Tuesday, Karen said Pertamina was “optimistic” that the firm’s planned acquisition of Venezuelan firm Petrodelta SA would go on as planned, but declined to give any further comments on other speculations. “The firm’s priority right now is to acquire oil and gas fields that are already in the production phase in order to ensure that future output can promptly contribute to domestic use,” she said.

“Given the current soaring price of crude oil, there are not many opportunities to acquire such blocks […] Therefore, support from the government is also very important.”

Pertamina’s upstream directorate is currently mulling which assets to acquire and then the firm’s subsidiary, Pertamina Hulu Energi (PHE), will execute the plan, Pertamina’s spokesman Ali Mundakkir said when contacted separately.

Ali said that the firm had yet to predict the exact dates for when the additional oil output of 32,000 bpd would enter Pertamina’s total production.

“It could be in January next year, or July next year, it will depend on the current talks,” he said. 

Separately, PHE president director Salis S. Aprilian, told the Post that the oil and gas blocks Pertamina had planned to acquire were situated in several regions including Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and South America.

Earlier this year, Salis had said that Thailand, Vietnam or Myanmar were among the countries where the planned oil and gas fields Pertamina wanted to acquire were situated.

“However, we are now yet to be informed of which countries Pertamina would enter as that would be under their corporate strategy. It will also depend on the ongoing discussions,” he said in a text-message sent to the Post.

Currently, PHE owns shares in oil and gas blocks in seven countries: Block BMG/VIC in Australia, Block 3WD in Iraq, Block SK-305 in Malaysia, Block 3 in Qatar, Block 13 in Sudan, Block 17-3 and Block 123-3 in Libya and Blocks 10 and 11.1 in Vietnam.

Out of the nine blocks, only Block SK-305 in Malaysia is presently maintaining its production activities with a total output of 2,500 bpd and 20 million metric standard cubic feet per day (MMSCFD) of gas.

Meanwhile, Block BMG/VIC in Australia was now categorized as entering a non-production phase, according to Salis, because it turned out to be “not economical” for PHE.

Hadi Prasetyo of upstream oil and gas regulator BPMigas said that Pertamina’s total output as of early October was 132,000 bpd, but it was expected that production would be increased to nearly 140,000 bpd by the end of this year


Pertamina, Karen Agustiawan