Indonesia's energy minister says he would seek President Joko Widodo's approval for the country to rejoin OPEC, seven years after leaving the oil exporters' group.
JAKARTA, May 7 (Reuters) - Indonesia's energy minister said on Thursday he would seek President Joko Widodo's approval for the country to rejoin OPEC, seven years after leaving the oil exporters' group.
If it returned, Indonesia would be the fourth-smallest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries ahead of Libya, Ecuador and Qatar, and bring the number of participants to 13 countries.
Indonesia was the only Asian OPEC member for nearly 50 years before leaving the group in 2008 as oil prices hit a record high, and rising domestic demand and falling production turned it into a net oil importer.
"I will ask the president to consider rejoining as a member of OPEC, so we are close to the market," Energy Minister Sudirman Said told reporters. "We have been offered (an opportunity) to rejoin."
OPEC termed Indonesia's departure a "suspension" and Ecuador, which rejoined in 2007, set a precedent for a return from suspension. An OPEC source said the door was always open.
"If a country fulfils the criteria for membership, of course there is the possibility to join the organization," the source said.
OPEC's statute stipulates, however, that any "country with a substantial net export of crude petroleum, which has fundamentally similar interests to those of Member Countries, may become a Full Member of the Organization, if accepted by a majority of three-fourths of Full Members, including the concurring votes of all Founder Members."
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