Indonesia Awards 9 Oil, Gas Blocks; Initial Investment $411.1M

JAKARTA Mar 02, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

The Indonesian government Friday awarded a total of nine oil and gas blocks to international and local companies, which will invest a combined $411.1 million during the first three years of exploration.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources said a consortium comprising Total S.A. (TOT) and Japan's Inpex Corp. won the offshore Sungai Mahakam oil and gas block in Kalimantan, while a joint venture between Premier Oil (PMO.LN) and Mitsui Oil Exploration Co. got a block in the Natuna Sea.

A joint venture between Indonesia's Pertamina (PTM.YY) and Norway's Statoil ASA (STL.OS) obtained the Karama block offshore West Sulawesi, and Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM) won the Sageri block offshore South Sulawesi.

Esso Exploration International, a unit of Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), was awarded with the Mandar block offshore West Sulawesi.

The other companies being awarded blocks were mostly local, little-known companies.

The nine blocks are part of 20 blocks that Indonesia had offered to investors. It failed to attract interest in all of them.

Director General of Oil and Gas and the ministry Luluk Sumiarso said the government will re-offer the 11 blocks in April.

Sumiarso added that the government hopes to offer around 40 blocks in total this year. The only Southeast Asian member of the Organization Petroleum Exporting Countries has seen its crude oil production dwindle to 30-year lows last year with most of its wells maturing.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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