Tue, 04 Sep 2001

Mega to open energy dialog in Houston

JAKARTA (JP): President Megawati Soekarnoputri is to open a working conference on energy in Houston on September 24, 2001 during her scheduled trip to the United States.

Dubbed the Houston Energy Dialog (HED) 2001, the one-day conference is considered to be a discussion forum for business circles in the U.S. to discuss Indonesia's plans to take a larger role in the international energy market.

Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dorodjatun Kuntjoro- Jakti is expected to spearhead the Indonesian delegation, which will also include Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Purnomo Yusgiantoro and Chairman of the House of Representatives Commission VIII on energy and mineral resources, environment, science and technology Irwan Prayitno.

In the forum, it is expected that the Indonesian government will deliver a comprehensive explanation of its energy policy, including the new draft law on oil and gas, which has yet to get approval from the House.

The new oil and gas bill is designed to liberalize the country's oil and gas industry.

"The HED conference will provide investors with important information and a favorable investment atmosphere that can be beneficial to all of us," Subroto, chairman of the Bimasena Club, the meeting's co-organizer, was quoted as saying by detik.com Website on Monday.

Subroto went on to say that Indonesia should see the forum as a chance to deliver to foreign investors balanced reports on what is actually happening in the country, something that might boost their confidence to invest in Indonesia.

Michael Sumarijanto, the Bimasena Director Executive who is also the co-Chairman in the conference, shared the same view with Subroto, saying that what really counts for the meeting is how to convince international investors that the situation in Indonesia is conducive enough for business.

"A balance report about Indonesia is what they (foreigners) are lacking right now," Michael told the Jakarta Post on Monday.

"That's why one of the main purposes of this meeting is to give them whatever we have to offer, so that they can regain their confidence to come and invest in Indonesia."

Pertamina, the state-owned oil and gas company, has Houston in its list as one of its three marketing offices.

Over the past couple of years, oil and gas companies operating in the country has been faced with security problem, increasing protest from local people and problems created by the new autonomy law.(10)