Already under threat of a fiscal calamity amid soaring oil prices and unrealistic government fuel subsidy spending, Indonesia is expected to miss this year's oil production target of 977,000 barrels per day (bpd), the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said.
The ministry announced in a media statement over the weekend the country would only produce 965,000 bpd, 12,000 bpd short of its target, as some oil producing companies revised down their output targets.
The statement said the latest calculation was based on an accumulated full-year production estimate from oil-producing firms collected during a meeting last week. Although during the meeting a number of oil companies increased their oil production estimates, many more lowered them.
"Of 40 proposals that we have received, up to 16 operators report that their production rate this year will exceed the target," it said as quoted by Detikfinance, citing U.S.-based Conoco Philips and Chevron as examples.
The remaining companies revised down their production rate, including state oil and gas firm PT Pertamina, which cited production of 132,000 bpd, down from its previous estimate of 145,000 bpd.
The government has set an oil production target of 977,000 barrels per day in the state budget.
Energy analysts have said the country's depleting oil resources and lack of new explorations have contributed to the country's oil production decline over the past five years.
The short-coming would result in a lack of revenues from the energy sector, which this year is set at Rp 300 trillion (US$32.6 billion), to help cope with fuel and power subsidy allocations resulting from high-flying oil prices.
The 2008 state budget sets aside Rp 186 trillion for fuel and electricity spendings, with the assumption that oil prices will average $95 per barrel.
With oil prices hovering well above $115 a barrel, pressure is increasing on the government to hike domestic fuel prices and ease subsidy burdens.
The government has offered no clear indications that any kind of price rise is on the cards, although Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro confirmed Sunday the government was considering applying non-subsidy tariffs for households and small businesses with an electricity capacity of greater than 2,200 watts.
Previously, the non-subsidy tariff was only aimed at business customers with electricity capacities of 6,600 watts or more.
A member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Indonesia is a net oil importer.