The Indonesian government acknowledged on Wednesday that it was considering a moratorium on the signing of new contracts for natural gas exports, saying the country needed the gas more to support national development.
Evita Legowo, the director general for oil and gas with the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, said gas exports did generate income for the state, but using it directly for domestic purposes would have “multiplier effects” that boosted local industries and the national economy.
“We’ll do our best to enable [the gas export moratorium],” Evita said.
“We do have a plan to do that [moratorium], but we still have to pay attention to the economic aspects of the development of this plan in the field,” she further stated in a text message, as quoted by Indonesian news portal bisnis.com.
Eva was responding to a recent call for the moratorium made by the Golkar Party, which said Indonesian industry and power plants lacked gas, despite the country’s abundant gas production, because much of it was exported.
“We from the Golkar Party faction ask the government to immediately announce a moratorium on gas exports, so that we can use the gas for domestic needs,” Golkar lawmaker Zainudin Amali has said.
Another Golkar lawmaker, Dito Ganinduto, insisted the moratorium was necessary to support the government’s recently relaunched campaign to use alternative gas-based fuel, better known as BBG here, rather than petroleum and diesel for vehicles.
According to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, Indonesia projects total average natural gas production of 5,118 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) over the 2012-20 period, drawing from 17 gas fields that have been and will be in operation.
Four new large-scale gas fields are expected to begin operating in the coming years.
They are a Chevron Indonesia offshore field, expected to start production of 830 mmscfd in 2014; the Inpex Corporation-run Masela block, with 400 mmscfd starting in 2017; the British Petroleum-run Tangguh project, at 870 mmscfd starting in 2018; and Pertamina-run East Natuna block, expecting 1,000 mmscfd starting in 2020.