Fri, 11 Feb 2000

Next Pertamina chief told to adapt firm to the times

JAKARTA (JP): Analysts said on Thursday transforming state oil and gas company Pertamina into a world-class organization should be the focus of the company's next president.

A former adviser to the minister of mines and energy, Ramses O. Hutapea, said Pertamina's new leadership must transform the state company from the government's cash cow into a profit- oriented business entity.

"The key to empowering Pertamina is maximizing its ability to develop Indonesia's oil and gas potentials," Ramses said during a discussion on Pertamina's future management.

Pertamina's board of commissioners is in the process of selecting a replacement for former president Martiono Hadianto. The change follows President Abdurrahman Wahid's order for new leadership at the state company which is honest, capable of transparency and knowledgeable about global oil cartel dynamics.

The board has selected a list of possible replacements, including the former president of oil and gas company PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia, Baihaki Hakim; the president of state tin mining company PT Timah, Erry Riyana Hardjapamekas; oil and gas company PT Medco Energy president John S. Karamoy; Medco chairman Arifin Panigoro; the director general of oil and gas at the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Rachmat Sudibyo; and the president of state gas company PT PGN, A. Qoyum Tjandranegara.

Ramses said that during these crucial times for Pertamina, the company should have a leader who not only understands the oil and gas industry, but also has a deep understanding of the company's core business and how it operates.

"From Pertamina's first president, Ibnu Soetowo, to Martiono, none of them really understood the oil and gas industry when they entered Pertamina," Ramses said.

He said Pertamina's next president would face enormous challenges in transforming the company into a major global player amid rising world competition.

House of Representatives legislator Pramono Anung, who is a member of House Commission VIII for mines and energy, said the period for Pertamina to begin revitalizing its business ended last year.

"Between 2000 and 2004, Pertamina should undergo a transformation phase," he said, adding that during that period Pertamina's president must concentrate on shifting the company from being cost-oriented to being profit-oriented.

He suggested the new president form strategic alliances with other global oil and gas companies, saying this would enable Pertamina to explore oil and gas resources outside of Indonesia. (03)