After the withdrawal of ExxonMobil from the Natuna Gas Consortium, a concession holder of the East Natuna Block, the Indonesian government is inviting other companies to join the consortium.
Energy and Mineral Resources Deputy Minister Arcandra Tahar said on Thursday the government would welcome the participation of any firm, including Inpex Corporation, a Japanese oil company, which is reportedly interested in joining the consortium.
“The government offers [the position] to any firm, including Inpex,” said Arcandra as reported by kontan.co.id on Friday.
He said, however, that he had no clear idea about the actual participation of Inpex in the East Natuna Block.
“Anyone who wants to enter East Natuna, we more than welcome them. I will help any company that wants to enter.”
Previously, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry announced that ExxonMobil had withdrawn from the consortium after learning the results of a feasibility study on the block.
The other two consortium members are state-owned energy company Pertamina and Thailand’s PTT EP.
Arcandra said Pertamina could not manage the East Natuna project alone because of the high CO2 content, which reaches up to 72 percent.
Exxon was a concession holder of the East Natuna Block together with Natuna D-Alpha in 1980, but Pertamina took over control of the block in 2008.
The East Natuna block, formerly known as D-Alpha, is located in the province of Riau Islands.
With proven reserves of 46 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas, it is one of the largest gas reserves in Asia. (bbn, The Jakarta post)