Tue, 08 Feb 2000

PT Exspan questioned over technology rights

JAKARTA (JP): Oil service company PT Wahana Petranusa questioned on Monday PT Exspan Petrogas Internusa, a unit of oil and gas company PT Medco Energy Corporation, over its rights to use a patented enhanced oil recovery technology.

Wahana's president Indrayana S. Somaatmadja said in a statement that Wahana holds the rights to market the technology in Indonesia and it had not made any deals with Exspan Petrogas for their utilization of the technology.

The technology in question is the so-called Vibro Seismic Impact Technology (VSIT), which was developed by All-Russian Scientific-Research Institute of Natural Gases and Gas Technologies (VNIIGAZ).

VSIT enables oil companies to pump oil wells containing viscous oil and oil that adheres tightly to rocks. The technology is reportedly able to increase the output of old oil wells by 40 percent.

Medco earlier announced it had signed an agreement to set up a consortium with PT Sarana Chaliutama, owned by Chandra Alim, to employ the technology in the oil fields of PT Exspan Kalimantan, Medco's subsidiary, in East Kalimantan.

The consortium would also explore the possibilities of employing the technology in other oil fields across the country, Medco said in a statement.

Somaatmadja said VSIT was introduced into Indonesia by Wahana, which has been registered at the Ministry of Trade and Industry as the agent of VSIT for the period of between Sept. 25, 1999 and March 5, 2001.

He said Wahana, in a joint venture with PT Putra Petra Utama, also owned by Chandra Alim, had signed a contract with PT Caltex Pacific Indonesia on March 26, 1999, to apply VSIT in the company's oil fields in Riau.

Wahana would also sign agreements with state oil and gas company Pertamina to apply the technology in all Pertamina's oil fields, Somaatmadja said.

"In this connection, ...the cooperation between Exspan Petrogas Intranusa and Sarana Chaliutama is questionable and we shall investigate this," Somaatmadja said.

However, Medco's chief executive office (CEO) Hilmi Panigoro denied that Wahana had an exclusive right to market and apply the technology in Indonesia.

"The company has only an exclusive right to apply the technology to Caltex's oil fields," Hilmi told The Jakarta Post.

The consortium formed by Exspan Petrogas and Sarana Chaliutama was licensed by VSIT patent holder VNIIGAS to use the technology in Exspan Kalimantan's oil fields.

"If anything, VNIIGAZ has 20 percent shares in the consortium with the remaining 80 percent shares equally owned by Exspan Petrogas and Sarana Chaliutama," Hilmi said. (jsk)