JAKARTA, April 8 (Reuters) - Indonesia's average daily crude output climbed in the first quarter to about 835,000 barrels per day (bpd), an energy ministry official said on Friday, as a result of a long-awaited production increase at Exxon Mobil Corp's Cepu block.
Throughout 2015, Indonesia's average daily output was 786,000 bpd, government data presented on Friday showed.
Natural gas output in the first quarter was at 8,219 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd), compared with an average daily output of 8,078 mmscfd in 2015.
"The Cepu production facility is already full, and the production-sharing contract holders are maintaining output levels," Oil and Gas Director General Wiratmadja Puja told Reuters by text, when asked about the increase in daily crude output levels.
The Banyu Urip project in the Cepu block in East Java province is operated in partnership with state energy company Pertamina and was expected to reach peak output of 165,000 bpd in January.
Output from Banyu Urip is crucial to Indonesia's long-term efforts to meet rising domestic oil demand as production declines at its ageing fields.
Yet, Exxon has faced a host of problems and setbacks developing Cepu, Indonesia's biggest oil and gas find in the last decade, including a worker dispute that slashed output in August.
Crude output from Cepu more than tripled throughout 2015 from around 40,000 bpd in 2014, hitting around 130,000 bpd in December when Exxon commenced operation of the project's central processing facility.
"Once full field production levels are safely reached, the project will represent approximately 20 percent of Indonesia's 2016 annual oil production target," Exxon said in a statement.
(Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)
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