Thu, 30 Aug 2001

Caltex's production drops due to theft

DURI, Riau (JP): Giant oil company PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia (CPI) said its oil output in Riau had dropped by 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 660,000 bpd from 700,000 bpd a year ago particularly due to equipment theft.

CPI's spokesman Poedyo Oetomo W. said thieves were stealing the company's equipment and that thus far the company had been unable to stop the theft.

"It is difficult to stop the theft. Our area is very large, while security is limited," he told visiting reporters, including The Jakarta Post, on Tuesday.

He suspects the thefts are committed by an organized gang of either unemployed locals or migrants.

According to him, theft at the company's plants had been on the rise over the past several years amid the breakdown of law and order following the resignation of former president Soeharto in the mid-1998.

During Soeharto's administration, no theft occurred at CPI's oilfields, thanks to the government's strong security measures to protect foreign investors, he said.

Equipment that have been stolen include electric wires and pipes, Poedyo said.

They later sell the stolen goods to buyers in the provinces, he said, but he refused to elaborate.

CPI has four oil operation sites in the Riau province, namely the Rokan, Coastal Plain Pekanbaru (CPP), Mountain Front Kuantan (MFK) and Siak blocks.

It now produces about 600,000 bpd of oil from Rokan, 50,000 bpd from CPP, 2,500 bpd from Siak and 1,000 bpd from MFK.

Aside from theft, Poedyo said, CPI was also facing land compensation demands from the locals.

According to him, many of the claims made by the local people were questionable because many of them arrived in the area after CPI started its operations.

"The problem is complicated... we have to be careful of this issue," he said.

CPI has involved the local authorities to solve the land dispute, Poedyo added. (iwa)