Mon, 16 Feb 2009
Oil and gas firms have proposed to invest US$14 billion this year, about 15 percent higher than the $13.15 billion calculated last month.

Last month’s figure was based on submitted Work Program and Budget (WP & B) proposals from the majority of 203 contract holders. More contractors have submitted their business proposals since, says upstream oil and gas regulator BPMigas.

“WP & B consists of the contractors’ projected work programs and their budgets. BPMigas must approve the proposals prior to their execution,” said Achmad Luthfy, BPMigas deputy chair for planning, Sunday, as reported by Antara news agency.

Last year, oil and gas contractors spent $11.5 billion in the sector from January to October.
He said that approved work programs would be called “Petroleum Operation” and the expenses spent for them called “Operating Cost”.

Luthfy said the higher investment levels would help the country achieve its 2009 oil production target of 960,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

The production target is lower than the country’s average last year of 978,000 bopd.

BPMigas Chair Priyono said last month declining oil production by PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia, a local subsidiary of the US’ second largest oil company, was among the reasons for the potentially lower output in 2009.

Chevron’s oil production makes up around 40 percent of the country’s oil output.

“Their production is declining because of aging fields. As the company output is very big, about 400,000 bopd, their decline is difficult to set off against finding new fields,” Priyono said.

Chevron recently said its Duri and Minas concessions in Sumatra might only show production of 405,000 bopd last year, lower than the government-targeted 408,000 bopd and far from the 425,000 bopd pumped in 2007.

Priyono said most investment would focus more on production rather than exploration.

“Exploration activities gave very good results last year. So we expect to see more drilling and other exploratory activities this year,” he said when asked to judge this year’s business prospects as compared to those in 2008.

BPMigas external division head Amir Hamzah said there was a slight difference in how the contractors’ WP & B were arranged compared to previous years.

“Previously we held separate discussions for the Authorization for Expenditure (AFE) and for the WP & B. But starting this year we will discuss both subjects simultaneously in the beginning of the year. This will make for faster approvals on proposals,” Hamzah said.

Hamzah also said that WP & B could function as a pre-auditing tool for the government because its principles cover cost recovery, profit sharing and tax components.

Cost recovery is an incentive mechanism under which the government recovers oil block operators’ spending during exploration only after the block starts producing to bolster investment in the sector. (hdt)



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