Acceleration in Regional Exploration of Indonesia: Requirement for Survival*

Awang Harun Satyana* Cipi Armandita* Johnson Achmad Paju*



Exploration for oil in Indonesia started in 1850 when systematic mapping of oils seeps was carried out by the Dutch East Indies Government. This, with geological investigation, resulted in discoveries of the first Indonesia’s oilfields during 1870s to 1890s in West Java, North Sumatra, South Sumatra, East Java, East Kalimantan and Seram Island. During the 20th century, it showed that Indonesia was significant oil and gas producer regionally, with peak oil production reached two times, around 1.68 million BOPD in 1977 and 1995. Interestingly, these two peaks of production were preceded by two peaks of accelerated massive exploration almost ten years earlier, respectively. However, since 1990, exploration has been diminishing; this will endanger the survival of Indonesia as significant oil and gas producer in the future. It is obvious that exploration is a requirement for production survival. Sedimentary basins of Indonesia are both productive and prospective, as well as challenging. Indonesia may also be the most diverse country in

the world with at least 50 proven and probably more than 100 speculative petroleum systems. Exploring Indonesia is worthy, but Western and Eastern Indonesia, each should be treated particularly. Recent mapping shows that there are around 2430 structures identified in all working blocks in Indonesia, 1200 structures of which are drillable prospects with P50 121 BBO and 545 TCFG resources in place. If parts of these resources can be realized, they will survive Indonesia as significant oil and gas producer. Massive and accelerated exploration is required to realize these resources. Both investors and the related institutions in the Government of Indonesia should realize and cooperate to address the issues such as: conflicting regulation, overlapping land use, regional autonomy, forestry, taxation, cabotage policy, data access, financial capability, harvest strategy in producing blocks, and high risk-frontier areas. Massive exploration will survive Indonesia as petroleum producer.


* Proceedings, Indonesian Petroleum Association, Thirty-Sixth Annual Convention and Exhibition, May 2012


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