ExxonMobil's Aceh Field Damaged by Fire

ExxonMobil's Aceh natural gas field was damaged by a fire earlier this week, according to Indonesia's Energy Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro. "We are investigating the fire to see whether it was due to sabotage," Purnomo told reporters

The fire affected parts of the gas field known as Arun cluster III/IV and also a nearby water treatment plant, Purnomo said. ExxonMobil's LNG processing plant, which is 30 kilometers from the gas field, wasn't affected by the fire. Operations are now back at 60% of full capacity after the fire was brought under control Thursday. The energy minister said LNG supplies to customers in Japan and South Korea will be affected.

The fire comes after a grenade attack on ExxonMobil's facilities last week.

Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, it comes amid a heavy offensive by the Indonesian army to wipe out a separatist insurgency that has been operating in Aceh since 1976.

ExxonMobil relies on Indonesia's armed forces to protect its gas field and plant in Lhokseumawe, which is in eastern Aceh province on the northern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra island. Most of the fighting since the army launched its latest offensive in May has occurred in the western portion of the province.