Wed, 23 Feb 2000

Caltex regrets news report

JAKARTA (JP): Oil company PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia denied on Tuesday it backed the Riau provincial administration's demand to take over full ownership of the Coastal Plains Pekanbaru oil block.

"Caltex has firmly maintained its policy of being apolitical, and not getting itself involved or interfering in any political issue," company corporate communications manager Harry Bustaman said in a statement.

He said Caltex deeply regretted a report by Antara news agency, quoted by The Jakarta Post on Feb. 8, 2000, which he said made it seem as if Caltex sided with the Riau provincial administration in its dispute with the central government over the rights to the block.

In the article, Caltex spokesman Poedyo was quoted as saying Caltex did not mind if Riau took over the block when Caltex's contract on it expired in 2001, and the company was ready to operate the block in the future if it was trusted to do so by the provincial administration.

Harry said: "The information given out was intended to say that Caltex could not be involved in any discussion between the government of Indonesia and Riau province about who held the mining rights ... but that as a company we would be ready to work with whomever the Indonesian government decided had the responsibility."

"The article ... was taken out of context and missed the real message about Caltex's position on the issue," he added. (jsk)