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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Pertamina hits pay dirt in Algeria

Energy giant Pertamina is set to expand its presence in Algeria following a generous deal with a local firm that will pave the way for the state-owned company to operate a new oil and gas block without any acquisition costs.

The deal was made in December as Pertamina amended a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was originally signed with Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach in September 2016.

Through the amended MoU, Pertamina claimed it would be able to jointly develop with Sonatrach a new oil asset in Algeria with total reserves of 100 million barrels of oil and an estimated production rate of 20,000 to 30,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

“This is a government-to-government deal. [...] We will get some participating interest in a block without any acquisition costs,” Pertamina upstream director Syamsu Alam said on Thursday, without disclosing the name of the block.

“Later, all of our disbursed costs will be accounted for as investments.”

Syamsu Alam

Syamsu said Sonatrach had drilled 30 development wells at the block but had yet to start the production process there. He also said as the block was located near Pertamina’s existing assets in Algeria, the company would be able to use shared facilities once the deal is done.

At present, Pertamina, through subsidiary Pertamina Internasional EP (PIEP), has participating interest at three oil and gas fields in Algeria, namely at the MLN field with 65 percent interest, the EMK field with 16.9 percent and the OHD field with 3.73 percent.

       Pertamina and Sonatrach are expected to soon finalize their deal and settle commercial terms before submitting a plan of development (POD) to the Algerian oil and gas authority.

Pertamina. is also looking to buy liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from Sonatrach, though no further details are currently available. Meanwhile, Pertamina sent a proposal to Iranian government-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in February 2017 to develop two oil and gas fields in Iran, namely the Ab-Teymour and Mansouri fields.

The two fields are estimated to have 1.5 billion barrels of reserves each and expected to produce 200,000 bopd each. Pertamina aims to increase its overall overseas oil production by 3.8 percent year-on-year to 108,000 bopd this year, while gas production is projected to fall by 3.27 percent to 266 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd).

In the long run, Pertamina aims to jack up its total oil and gas production to 1.9 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) by 2025, 34.2 percent of which will come from its over-seas fields.

Pertamina’s decision to be more aggressive in overseas territories has come in the wake of a decline in national oil production. Indonesia’s oil production has dwindled to around 800,000 bopd at present from around 1.2 million bopd in the early years of the 21S‘ century. As production has been falling, the country has been forced to import around 60 percent of its current oil needs of 1.6 million bopd.

BMI Research, a unit of Fitch Group, projected Indonesia’s crude oil and natural gas production will decline at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent and 4 percent, respectively, over the 2017-2021 period.

“Indonesia’s crude oil and natural gas production is set to see firm declines [...] amid slowing investment into new projects to counter natural declines at mature assets,” BMI Research says in a report published in August 2017.

“Moreover, although We believe oil prices will improve over the coming years, the gradual pace of the rebound, particularly over the next two years, will continue to drag on firms’ appetite for costly output maintenance works at aging fields.”

The price of global benchmark Brent crude reached last year’s peak of US$67.02 per barrel on Dec. 26 after falling to $ 44182 on June 21. The price hovered at around $68 on Friday. Pertamina has allocated $ 5.6 billion in capital expenditure this year, up from $4 billion in 2017. 

About 60 percent of the allocated figure will be used to support the company’s upstream business activities, including the acquisition of overseas blocks.

the Jakarta Post, Page-13, Monday, Jan 22, 2018


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