Indonesia has awarded more oil and gas exploration rights on nine blocks to energy companies including US firm Hess Corp, a senior mines and energy ministry official said on Friday.
It has been offering new exploration rights and financial incentives for exploration in a bid to stem its steady production decline, which has turned the former OPEC member into a net importer of crude oil in recent years.
Evita Legowo, a director general at the ministry, said Hess was awarded Semai V block, an offshore block west of Papua province.
“There were many companies have bid for Semai V but Hess gave better terms for exploration,” Legowo told reporters.
Mines and Energy minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said the companies which awarded exploration rights will spend about US$465 million for the first three-years.
“There are potential oil and gas reserves at those blocks but we have to wait until the companies explore the wells there before we know the amount of reserves,” Yusgiantoro said.
Indonesia also awarded Semai II blocks on offshore West Papua province to a consortium of Japan’s Inpex, Thailand energy firm PTT, and US firm Murphy Oil.
Legowo said the government awarded Downstream Mahakam block onshore of East Kalimantan to Singapore Petroleum.
The government has awarded Gunting block, onshore and offshore of East Java province, to Esso Exploration International, a unit of Exxon Mobil.
Five other blocks were awarded to little-known domestic and foreign companies.
Earlier this month, Indonesia awarded oil and gas exploration rights on 22 blocks to energy companies including Chevron Indonesia, a unit of US oil major Chevron, and Conoco Phillips.
Officials have said that Indonesia has 8.4 billion proven and potential oil reserves. Indonesia produced 846,300 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil in October, down from 862,200 bpd in September.